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 Post subject: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:12 pm
Posts: 11
Hello
Since the evening of 18th Oct I have been obsessively reading all the advice on this forum in an attempt to understand the options that are available to us after receiving disappointing 11+ results. I would love any advice or opinions on our particular case and will try and be succinct as possible!!

This is the academic evidence I have so far (not sure if all relevant but it is all I have!)

STT Score 113

Year 3 Reading EXS Writing EXS Maths EXS
Year 4 Reading EXS Writing EXS Maths EXS
Year 5 Reading GDS Writing GDS Maths EXS

Predicted performance July 2020

Reading 111-120
Writing GDS
Maths 111-120

Suffolk reading test 157 months
Vernon spelling test 199 months

Chosen as one of six selected children (year group of 93) as excelling in English to receive extra sessions and develop their reading and writing skills further.

Top sets for Maths, English and Science (I have seen this is only relevant if it is a top performing school. How do I prove it is?!)

Top guided reading group. There are 6 in their group and all the other children qualified

HT recommendation 3:1

We met with the headteacher on 23rd October as that was the earliest he would see us. Naively I thought this was because he would be writing support for our son. When we met and he told us he had graded him a 3:1 we were so shocked. I immediately asked the HT what the reservation was and he said he wasn’t sure and he would get back to us! He didn’t have any of my son’s results with him and he admitted he hadn’t talked to his year 6 teacher before doing the recommendations.
Following this disastrous meeting I emailed the head saying how disappointed we were, in particular that he couldn’t give us a reason for his reservation. He responded the next day saying he looked at our son’s results and predictions and he said the reservation was because of the EXS in maths at end of year 5. He said he had now talked to the year 6 teacher whom reported there had been recent and rapid progress since the end of year 5. The year 5 report also comments that “xxxxx confidence in maths has grown in the last term and he is now tackling complex mathematical concepts.”
I knew from reading everything on this forum that going for a review with a score of 113 and a HT recommendation of 3:1 was hopeless. The HT told me that was not the case and he would write a supporting statement. We got a copy of the report on 25th Oct and he has simply written “I consider xxxxx to be suitable for a grammar school. He has shown clear signs of making accelerated progress in maths, therefore I no longer have a reservation.”
I just cannot believe any review panel will believe that from 4th October to 25th Oct any child can make that rapid progress, I don’t! It is my opinion that the HT didn’t look at the academic evidence before him or talk to the year 6 teacher.

We do have extenuating circumstances which are personal. So without going into too much detail we have a letter from mental health assessment for my husband with a diagnosis of severe anxiety and depression. This is dated 7th Oct. The weeks preceding this were horrendous. I had to double my hours at work when the children went back to school (I have proof of this) due to financial pressures. The sudden increase in hours lead to disorganised and inconsistent childcare arrangements which I have no doubt affected the children and ultimately the 11+ score.

I am of course mindful that the extenuating circumstances actually contradict the HT report that says my son has actually improved academically this term.

Is our case totally hopeless?

I know you cannot advice for review or appeal, and that success at appeal is low, but given our circumstances I feel that this is our best chance. Does anyone agree or disagree?!

Looking at the academic evidence does the HT recommendation look fair? I know I am biased so would appreciate honest answers!

I believe that our son is suitable for a grammar school and his low score was due to the extenuating circumstances at the time rather than the fact that he has made considerable progress in 21 days!

Help!


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8290
Welcome! :)

Darewehope wrote:
Top sets for Maths, English and Science (I have seen this is only relevant if it is a top performing school. How do I prove it is?!)
For two possible indicators see footnote 2, E32(c):
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... aneous#e32

You don't necessarily have to prove it, though. The point is the SRP itself will have an idea of how well the school performs. They get a copy of the school's overall 11+ results, and someone on the panel may know broadly how the school tends to perform at KS2.

Quote:
Following this disastrous meeting I emailed the head saying how disappointed we were, in particular that he couldn’t give us a reason for his reservation.
You may need to provide the email correspondence as supporting evidence.

Would you feel more comfortable/more persuasive sending the review panel (a) a written statement about how the school has dealt with its suitability recommendation, and (b) the details of your extenuating circumstances - or talking through these delicate issues with an appeal panel face to face?

If you were to skip the review, do you have strong reasons for wanting a place at the grammar school you would be appealing for?
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c2

I see no mention of CATs, so have you considered the possibility of an educational psychologist's report to try and show that 113 was a blip and not a true indication of son's ability?
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... ication#b3
How would you feel if you spent a large sum of money on an educational psychologist's report, and it confirmed the result of the transfer test?
It might take a Full Scale IQ of 125+ to override convincingly the score of 113.

Sorry that there are no easy answers - but I think you know that already.

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Etienne


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:12 pm
Posts: 11
Thank you so much for your 2am reply!

Quote:
You may need to provide the email correspondence as supporting evidence.


I am more than happy to do this

Quote:
Would you feel more comfortable/more persuasive sending the review panel (a) a written statement about how the school has dealt with its suitability recommendation, and (b) the details of your extenuating circumstances - or talking through these delicate issues with an appeal panel face to face?


My preference would be to provide written evidence but I am conscious of the amount of time spent at review versus appeal. Do they have to read all the evidence? Given that I would be supplying an email thread, mental health assessment report and a letter from my employer confirming my increase in hours I am concerned that they will just see a STT score of 113 and HT recommendation of 3:1 and move on to the next one.

Quote:
If you were to skip the review, do you have strong reasons for wanting a place at the grammar school you would be appealing for?


We are in catchment (3 miles) but apart from that just the usual that it is my son’s favourite.

Sadly we are not in a good financial situation at the moment so an EP report is out of the question.

If I apply for review I am effectively arguing that part of the review process is not FCO (the way the HT report was dealt with) so if the review in unsuccessful the chance of convincing an appeal panel that it was still not FCO will be harder. Do you think?

My friends daughter whom attends the same school get a HT recommendation of 2:1 and she got EXS in maths in year 5. Clearly I cannot submit that as part of my case but is the review panel able to see what each HT has scored and what academic evidence this was based on? If not how can they ensure consistency?

Sooooooooo confused!


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8290
Darewehope wrote:
Do they have to read all the evidence?
They read all the evidence in advance of their meeting.

Quote:
Given that I would be supplying an email thread, mental health assessment report and a letter from my employer confirming my increase in hours I am concerned that they will just see a STT score of 113 and HT recommendation of 3:1 and move on to the next one.
My guess would be that a decision on the review can be taken quite rapidly if all three panel members are in agreement.

Quote:
We are in catchment (3 miles) but apart from that just the usual that it is my son’s favourite.
This won't make your case stand out, I'm afraid.

Quote:
If I apply for review I am effectively arguing that part of the review process is not FCO (the way the HT report was dealt with) so if the review in unsuccessful the chance of convincing an appeal panel that it was still not FCO will be harder. Do you think?
FCO can only be considered by an appeal panel after an unsuccessful review, so it depends how they think the review panel handled the issues raised. It is at this point that you can challenge whether the process was FCO.

At the time of a review you would simply be arguing that there were exceptional circumstances that disadvantaged your son.

Quote:
My friends daughter whom attends the same school get a HT recommendation of 2:1 and she got EXS in maths in year 5. Clearly I cannot submit that as part of my case but is the review panel able to see what each HT has scored and what academic evidence this was based on? If not how can they ensure consistency?
They can see all the recommendations for the particular school, and they can see how many of those children qualified. If almost all the 1: recommendations qualified, and the majority of 2: recommendations, it's quite a good indication of how realistic the recommendations were.
Headteachers wouldn't have time to provide a detailed justification for each recommendation they make, and it would be complicated because of the various factors to be taken into account.
In the case of the child who had EXS in maths in year 5, we don't know what else there may have been in her academic profile that led to a 2:1.
Nevertheless, if you find yourself discussing FCO in front of an appeal panel next summer, it would seem perfectly reasonable to draw a comparison with the child who had EXS for Y5 maths (so long as she's not named), and to question the consistency of the review process.

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Etienne


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:12 pm
Posts: 11
Thanks for your helpful reply.

I realise that the odds are totally stacked against us and that having read lots of posts I am well aware there are children with higher scores and HT recommendations that are still not successful. I am not going into this expecting to be successful. I just have to try.

I think I am leaning towards the appeal as it will give us time to collate more academic evidence and reasons for wanting a place at the particular school. I know success at appeal is even lower and that we will be applying for an oversubscribed school. I feel that our case is complicated and having to also deal with FCO makes it even harder. As much as I do not relish the thought of talking about our extenuating circumstances to a panel I suppose after giving it some thought I think probably this would be dealt with better face to face.

Is it only at the appeal stage that you can see the HT recommendations and how many qualified? If so would it be acceptable to ask the school if I could see this data now?

Thanks again, it is most helpful to have someone to talk this through with.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8290
Darewehope wrote:
I am not going into this expecting to be successful. I just have to try.
Quite right too. As I say to everyone: "You've nothing to lose, so long as you don't expect to win. If you do happen to win it will be an unexpected bonus!"

Quote:
I know success at appeal is even lower
That's partly because many of the strongest cases ought to have got through at the review stage.

Quote:
Is it only at the appeal stage that you can see the HT recommendations and how many qualified?
As a matter of routine, yes.
Quote:
If so would it be acceptable to ask the school if I could see this data now?
Yes, although many heads seem reluctant to provide it!
You could probably insist by putting in writing a Freedom of Information Request either to the head or to Admissions.

Quote:
Thanks again, it is most helpful to have someone to talk this through with.
You're most welcome.

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Etienne


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:40 pm
Posts: 29
Dear Darewehope,

Just to advise on:
‘We are in catchment (3 miles) but apart from that just the usual that it is my son’s favourite.’
Reasons for wanting that particular school are paramount to appeal.
There is lots of advice and examples in guidelines for appeals on this site - please, read it.
Additionally, what you can do is to go on school’s website and note details of what they are offering / what is special about that particular school / school’s facilities and to match those to your child providing relevant evidence.
Also, go though your child’s school reports and any achievements.

For example, school report of your son has a statement that he is particularly good at science. And the school he wants to go to has enhanced science facilities and opportunities to learn science in some specific ways (also maybe has extracurricular science club). Then it’s a match. You can say that one of the reasons you want this particular school is because your son who has interest in science, will greatly benefit from what the school is offering in terms of science learning as this will give him the best opportunity to develop in this field.

Look at science, maths, sports, languages, etc - anything that will benefit the evidenced qualities of your child. Study all sections of the school’s website including teaching and assessment and particular subjects. Then correspond and relate them to your child.

Hope this helps a bit.
Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:40 pm
Posts: 29
Forgot to mention that distance from school and easy travel could also be one of the reasons. To evidence this you can print out Journey Planner details and transport timetables.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:12 pm
Posts: 11
Thank you Etienne and Greenwich Mum

I feel more content with the decision to go straight to appeal and will spend the time that we have creating a strong a case as possible.

My son does excel in Science, it is his favourite subject and has GDS and very positive comments in his year 5 report. As he wants to be an equine vet he will need the top grades and I shall focus my time on thorough research for each school. With regard to this, one of the schools does have it’s own pony club, with 9 ponies that belong to the school. This is my son’s school of choice, because of the equestrian link. Would you recommend this as a reason for choosing the school even though it is not an academic reason. I could link it to his equestrian vet ambitions! Would like to know your thoughts.

No doubt I will continue to ask your advice as we go through the process. I am so glad I found this forum at a time when I felt so utterly hopeless and disappointed.

Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11+ journey
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:36 am 
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Yes - that is a perfectly valid and sensible reason. Other reasons have included a language that only one school offers; a sibling attending (with no sibling criteria); ease of travelling (especially if you have other children in other schools) etc etc. If you have two or three strong reasons for attending that particular school, that is also good - any more is unlikely! Do not fall into the trap of saying how the school will benefit from having your son, though as all of those benefots will fit any other school he is offered - make sure it is about why THAT school is perfect for YOUR son.

And academic evidence...lots and lots and lots of this. You cannot win an appeal without it.


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