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What counts as "exceptional compelliing social, medical or psychological" reasons for entry to a particular school?

(32 Posts)
BicycleBelle Sun 18-Oct-09 21:06:47

Like previous a poster, I am trying to get my daughter into an out of catchment 13-18 yr age group grammer school. My child has no statement, no special educational needs, and no sibling at the school. So the only available criteria is the one in the title above. What sort of thing comes under this category? She is gifted and very under stimulated at her current school, and being called a boffin and a swot. Would that count?

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Merle Sun 18-Oct-09 21:34:31

Have no experience of this but you could certainly put the teasing/bullying re. her being clever as an (exceptional?) psychological reason.

Is there any documentary evidence that her current school can provide re. the intellectual gulf between your daughter and her current cohort?

Likewise are there any documents about teasing/isolation/upset she has experienced in the past.

Do her current school say she is 'gifted'; as in G&T criteria or something else?

Do her current school think she is under-stimulated (probably not!)

These are my suggestions.

Goblinchild Sun 18-Oct-09 21:50:11

'Exceptional psychological' would probably need the backing of a counsellor or doctor's letter detailing the stress or depression created by her current environment.
There would have to be documented evidence of bullying that the school had failed to address, being called boffin and swot is unlikely to be
considered major enough, horrible though that is for your daughter.
Does she really want to go to this school?
Thinking of how she would present at any interview.

Kewcumber Sun 18-Oct-09 21:55:12

I'm hoping to get DS into the primary school of our choice (though likely in our case we would qualify under location anyway) but just in case we are making an "exceptional case" application for him. The school said they wouldn;t take any notice of it unless it was accompanied by doctors letter or similar professional - in our case social workers letter.

She said they take very seriously giving place to people out of catchment becasue it takes a place away from someone who is in the catchment area.

Sorry I don;t suppose thats very helpful.

zanzibarmum Sun 18-Oct-09 22:16:19

Merle you are taking the p..., aren't you? If not this is not helpful advice.

Kewcumber - what is the issue needing social workers intervention and are you in or out of the catchment area?

BicycleBelle - having a clever child is not grounds for admission on exception or psychological grounds. Nice try thought

Goblinchild Sun 18-Oct-09 22:27:07

Why do you think Merle's advice isn't helpful?
OP didn't say generally bright and intelligent, she said gifted. If she means Government 10%, then fine.
If she means truly gifted in its proper sense, then that is something very different.

zanzibarmum Sun 18-Oct-09 22:51:19

Have a read of the school adjudicator and ombudsman reports to understand why I thought the advice was wrong and therefore unhelpful to OP.

BicycleBelle Sun 18-Oct-09 23:23:38

Thanks for all your comments. By gifted I meant in the 10% cohort and on G&T register, not anything more spectactual than that.

I think our case just illustrates the short comings of a system that gives you a right to express a preference and nothing else. Our DD is no more deserving than any other out of catchment child to attend the high achieving grammar school, rather than the below average comp-turned-academy.

Unfortunately we failed to get her in for Year 7, so are having another go for the Year 9 intake. We have nothing much to hang our case on, but feel we have to try everything we can. We have no fall back position . . . .

Zanibar, what did the adjudicator / ombudsman say?

Merle Mon 19-Oct-09 06:42:54

No I wasn't taking the p---. I was doing my best to help. The OP said she would take any suggestions. I made some, making it clear that I had no experience.

Zanibarmum you obviously have some experience of this area. Perhaps you could share it with the OP, rather than making snide comments?

thepumpkineater Mon 19-Oct-09 07:30:59

If it's a grammar school, she is going to have to pass the entrance test surely before anything else. Did she take it in Year 7?

cory Mon 19-Oct-09 07:48:58

These are the kind of social, medical, psychological reasons I have experience of/have heard of:

wheelchair bound child appealing to get into the only local school with disability access: this had to be combined with medical reports showing why same child could not be bussed long distances to go into less popular but accessible school at other end of LEA

child with longterm psychological problems who needed to go to a school where she already knew someone: evidence consisted of letters from CAHMS (mentalh health services) and GP

child whose mother was terminally ill allowed into only local school which offered bereavement counselling

child who had been severely bullied (psychological stress documented) allowed to get into school away from bullies: note that this is not a passport into one particular school, just away from one particular school

Note that this is a two-stage process: you need to show not only why School A will not do, but (far more importantly) why School B is the only one that will: otherwise the LEA will want to send her to the unpopular and undersubscribed School C at the other end of the boundaries, rather than have to overstep their numbers

and any argument that teaching standards at School C are substandard are not likely to go down well at all

so you'd need to find something that is specific to School B (your choice) and be able to motivate why your child needs this more than other children: after all, there is no reason for the LEA to think that some other child deserves the scrotty School C more than yours does; and there are so many of these top 10% children: if the top 10% in every other school in the LEA insisted of getting into this popular school- well, it would get impossible; so LEA would be afraid of creating a precedent

We were the parents of the wheelchair bound child. We still had to take it to appeal.

Goblinchild Mon 19-Oct-09 07:58:04

I've only met three gifted children in my career of over twenty-five years.
I've met over a hundred very able who are now classed as gifted thanks to the definition of it being the top 10% of a school.

mollyroger Mon 19-Oct-09 08:22:52

well I failed with our appeal based on grounds of ds having exceptional IQ (documented and tested by independant ed psych and placing him in top 2 pc of population) combined with Specific Learning Difficulties, bullying and a history of low self esteem and confidence, documented by primary Headteacher and ed psych....the school we were appealing for has an unsurpassed track record for supporting children with SLD, so really thought we were in with a chance.

They only let in 5 children on appeal out of something like 75 appeals. Er, So good luck!

We were not in a position to move into catchment area, but that is the only sure way IMHO.

Having said that we are really happy with the below-average comp he got sent to - they having turned him around and boosted his confidence fantastically in just 6 weeks. I truly think things have turned out for the best. His friends who got into the preferred school are being horribly bullied....

Kewcumber Mon 19-Oct-09 10:35:37

zanzibar - we are right at the edge of the catchment area and most years we would get in, but in a year of very high sibling intake there's a risk we may not.

Our alternative school is a perfectly good school (grade 2 offsted report) but is absolutely the wrong primary for DS who is transracially adopted and deals with change very poorly.

Our preferred school has two transracially adopted children already which is very rare in the UK and it is an amazing opportunity for DS to go to school with children in the same boat. The school is significantly smaller (single class intake vs three class intake) and I think he would handle the change much better in a smaller environment. His social worker will confirm all of this in a letter to the school.

I didn't say all of this before because its really unlikely to be of any help to the OP.

Kewcumber Mon 19-Oct-09 10:37:15

If the top 10% of my old school had to be classified as gifted it would make a mockery of the term!

Lancelottie Mon 19-Oct-09 10:58:16

I know of only one case of exceptional social need, and that's for an adopted child attending the same school as her new sibs despite being officially out of catchment/ distance regulations. She also, I suspect, may have needed to be away from previous family, but I'm guessing there.

Sibs alone wouldn't have qualified -- our oldest got into this (very popular) school under statementing rules, but our younger child didn't.

zanzibarmum Mon 19-Oct-09 14:09:34

Kewcumber - your case sounds robust. You need to demonstrate why ONLY the school that you want the child to go to is the right school given the particular issues. What you say on the facts sounds like you would meet the exceptional grounds criteria.

By all means put the smaller school issue but keep it very much as a subdidiary point to your main case.

Blu Mon 19-Oct-09 14:23:32

DS got a place at his school due to special considerations - namely that he would need a wheelchair accessible school for at least one year of his school life (so far, 4 terms). We provided consultants report, GP's letter and articles by parents iof children with a similiar condition about the ongoing nature of the condition and the importance of a supportive school. Even then one school turned us down on appeal in the grounds that unde the DDA every school has to have an access 'action plan', implemented in 5 years (just as DS would be leaving, then....).

A child at his school was admitted due to being out of catchment because having been adopted v late in life, and from particular circumstances, the G.P. and their case social workers were able to offer specific evidence of needs which would affect the right school for the child.

I know a child with a range of anaphalactic shock level allergies be refused, on apeal, a place in the only local primary school where the dinner time arrangements could be made suitable.

frogs Mon 19-Oct-09 15:31:10

The only case I know of involved a child whose family had been moved under a witness protection programme from the estate where they had lived previously. They had supporting letters from police officers, court service, social worker, CAMHS, GP and local authority's housing dept.

In that case the school was voluntary-aided, so have slightly more discretion than a community school. Tho' obv that could work either for or against the appeal, depending on the school's attitude.

GhostlyPixieOnaPumpkin Mon 19-Oct-09 16:28:24

I don't think that 'exceptional compelling social, medical or pyschological needs' are something which are made up when looking at the application form.
And being on the G&T register means nothing, really - I read on here the other day of a child who was on the G&T register for English, but also had document SEN for that subject, as she was brighter than other children in her class IYSWIM.
Why can't you just apply normally? If it's a grammar, then doesn't she have to take an entry test? If she is gifted, then surely she'll pass it?

ScummyMummy Mon 19-Oct-09 17:06:28

At most state schools you'd be onto a loser applying under that criterion unless you had involved medical, psychological or social work professionals who were happy to support your application, tbh, bb. But like the others I thought that grammar schools tend not to have catchments per se and instead to take children who pass the 11+ or 13+ exam?

thepumpkineater Mon 19-Oct-09 17:51:03

Yes, I said that earlier on...she must have to take a test to get into a state grammar school.

Only after passing the test, surely, will any extenuating circumstances be considered (especially if she perhaps passed the test but not highly enough to get a place). By default, most children in grammar schools will be classed as 'gifted and talented'.

GhostlyPixieOnaPumpkin Mon 19-Oct-09 18:00:05

Sorry thepumpkineater, I didn't see that!
Aren't the top 10% G&T, though? Surely then, only the top 10% of a grammar school will be classed as G&T
Doesn't that mean that the better your school, the less likely you are to be 'gifted'? Whole thing sounds like nosense to me!

Goblinchild Mon 19-Oct-09 18:09:57

Oi Pixie, that's government policy you're dissin'
You'll be getting a knock on the door any minute if you keep being such a dissenter.

GhostlyPixieOnaPumpkin Mon 19-Oct-09 18:20:52

What sort of biscuits should I get in for when the knock on the door comes, though?

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