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liza smith

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hiya all
i've found myself in the middle of a horrendous situation with my daughter jema & her school.
she is just about to leave primary school to embark on the next stage of her future.
she has always been bright, & she loves school & learning.
she is the only girl (out of 8) in her class to b in the top set for english & maths.
last year we had to choose her secondry school, like some of u may b about to do next term.
following our knowledge of her abilities, her teachers reccommendation & her predicted s.a.t grades for this year, we put her down for the local grammar school as 1st choice, then the comprehensive nearest to us as 2nd choice, then the next nearest comp as our 3rd choice.
jema sat her 11+ exam in jan.
we got the results in march.
she'd scored 129 out of 140 in the non-verbal reasoning section (which is the closest you can get to an intelligence test, but she missed her english & maths by only 2 marks.
this meant that we had to go to appeal.
we did this in june, we found out 1 week later that the appeal panel had turned her down.
we were devastated.
we spoke to her teacher, who was as upset as us, & he explained that we would have to wait untill the 1st sept (2 days b4 start of term) & hope she got in through the casual addmissions.
we spoke to the head of the grammar school who told us that only 9 girls had gone through the appeals out of 35.
jema only missed the exam by 2 marks, what had got those 9 girls through & not jema?
alarm bells started ringing.
the head told us that to enable to put our minds at rest they would invite the 26 girls into school to sit an assessment to see if their perfomance in the 11+ was not reflective of her ability.
jema sat this, & we were asked to submit her s.a.t results aswell.
she got straight 5's.(the national average is 4's)
on the basis of her assessment (we were told her results put her in the top 14% of the country) they suggested that she was definately suited to a selective school.
the grammar school has 30 spare spaces, so that isn't the problem.
after breathing a huhe sigh of relief, we had our world torn apart on fri afternoon when the deputy head phoned us with some awful news.
due to speculation in the nation press, which is untrue, the school had received a government directive that under no circumstances can they admit to their school onth 1st sept, any pupil that has "failed" their 11+.

by the way we weren't offered any of our 2nd or 3rd choices, we were offered a school 10 miles away, that is 1 of the most under acheiving schools in a big area.

this isn't possible for me to get jema to this school aswell as get callum to his school within 1 hour, even if it was a great school

so, to how you may b able to help...
there are 17 girls in this position & we are meeting up 2moro night to get a plan together.
among other things we intend to hit the local m.p's, the national newspapers ,& gmtv & this morning etc.

this situation is the thin edge of the wedge, it is completely political, & it is going to get worse.
we need to fight it now.
this is the 1st time i've wanted anything this badly.
if anyone of you have any conections with government or the media, then i need anything you can give me
i really appreciate this
liza xx
 

Lellipop

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Hi Liza,
So Sorry to hear about Jemma, A friend of mine, Who's child is very bright decide against trying for the local grammer school because she knew from other parents telling her, that if her daughter failed to get in she wouldn't get the 2nd choice school as wanted. It seems to happen all the time :mad:
In the area where i live there are no grammer schools, So even though my daughter who's now 14 got level 6 in her sats at age 11 which i was told is very high, She at to go to the local comp. Iwas worried due to her being a high acheiver that she would slip back, But now at the age of 14 shes just got level 8's this year.
So although you are disappointed with the results, I am sure if she's above the average, She will suceed regardless of a grammer education.
Hths
 

Do-it-all Deb

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Hi Liza
I could give you a reply that would go on forever, but quickly I can offer you the following!

My eldest child didn't get a place at our local primary school, due to high sibling intake that year. We found fellow parents, formed a group and together fought the process. As a result the school upped its intake for that and all future years to cope with demand. We knew by July that he had a place so all was well.

My niece narrowly failed a selective place and had to leave all her friends and go to a really grot, high mixed race/ability school in outer london. She is such a star that she has achieved where those around her fail, got all a's or a+'s at GCSE's and is waiting results on her A levels (Russian, Music amongst others!)
She is proof that academic ability will out despite everything.

Locally we are fortunate not to have selective schools but ability is so high that level 5's are quite standard at year 6. However it means that competetion is fierce and we have many disappointed kids and parents every year and often the local press get involved and many an appeal is heard.

The question is, what is right for you and your child? If one of the local schools will be better than one 10 miles away, then go to appeal. If you feel you must hold out for the grammar, then go for it. Just be sure your daughter is involved along the way, because at the end of the day, she has got to live through the trauma as well!

A group of you will hold more clout so be sure to support each other and good luck whatever happens!
 

liza smith

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hiya lesley
thanks for your comments,but unfortunately we haven't got any choice as because we put grammar 1st, we haven't got a place in any of the 3 comps in our town.
the school they've offered us is 10 miles away, & through the morning traffic it would take between 40-50 mins to drive there & then i've got to drive in the opposite direction to get callum to school all b4 9am!
the school in question has recently introduced involuntary drugs tests :eek: what does that tell u?
jema missed her 11+ by TWO marks! & scored very high in her intelligence test, so she would've gone through on appeal as the test on the day didn't reflect her ability ie it was her 1st experience of a test, & she didn't pace herself.
neally all the boys in her class that took the 11+ had extra tutoring prior to the exam.
we wasn't aware that this was happening or i may have considered it.
some of these boys scraped through, but have since got some 4's in their sat's.
these boys are going to grammar school, but are not necessarily going to cope with the curriculum.
the other thing that the bod's have decided is that any child who DIDN'T sit the 11+, will b invited to take the test to see if they are elligible to fill the spaces :eek:
what the hell is the point of that?!?
we'll see what the group of parents come up with 2moro night, & i'll let u all know
liza x
 

cuticles

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Liza, you must be gutted - if your appeal fails on the grammer part of it (and due to government initiatives - this may well happen) you MAY have a stronger case to choose your second or third choice of school. Explain that it is 10 miles away etc etc.

Good luck and keep us posted

Cathy
 

Urban Geek

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Liza - Sorry to hear about all your hassles. It is good that you hope to contact your local MP's and the media - that will get things sorted. I would also contact the Education Director and Senior Education Officer and advise them/their PAs that you are pursuing this matter rigerously with the press if necessary and hopefully that will get their butts moving.

Sorry I can't be more helpful - good luck!
 

Glorsclaws

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Hi Liza,
Been in a similar situation & lost the appeal too. Im glad to see you're not giving up the fight at this stage which I did.
With a heavy heart I sent him to the school with the poor reputation that like yours was some distance, incredibly awkward for me etc.
I was sickened by all the fighting on school return buses, the constant supply teachers etc. The toatal lack of motivation etc.
Lucky for me we moved but the same situation flared up again as my son was turned down at all the best schools who said they had no places ... my school of choice wouldnt even take my call.
Funny that, cos thats the school where he's just finished his education after a phone call from his head of year to someone she knew at the new school suddenly opened up a place,
Dig your heals in girl cos thats what they do ... sorry I have no real advice here but, I really wish all the best to you & Jema.
Let us know the outcome .xx.
 

Peppercorn Nails

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Hi Liza.......sorry can't offer you any words of wisdom, but I can offer you my support. Surely you would have thought that Jema's course work for this year would also have some play on her results. If you were all (her teachers aswell) expecting her to gain entrance to a Grammar school this would have been based on how she has performed throughout the year, and should not soley rely on her passing these damn exams!

Slightly off subject, but my daughter Harriet (7) took her SATS this year......and promptly turned into a very unhappy child. She would wake up in the morning saying she had a sore tummy and that she felt unwell. She lost half of her head of hair, and ended up having 2 blood tests. I'm still not sure exactly why she lost her hair (fortunately it is not obvious to others) but since this last term started she has been much happier, the hair is regrowing and she's not telling me she hates school because it's too hard (this from a child who has always enjoyed school).

When I spoke to her teacher, even she said she hated the SATS and felt it went against everything she was trying to achieve with the children - being able to ask for her help when they need it; not being under pressure for time; etc, etc.

Harriet did achieve above average in her SATS........but at what cost!

Good luck Liza, I really hope somebody on the board will be able to give you the advice or the connections you need.

All the best
Adele xxx
 

Fab Freak

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Hi Lisa

I dont know if this is a daft idea but Have you contacted the any editors at the TES (times Educational Supplement) they might be interested there again they might not...Best of Luck to you..
 

Do-it-all Deb

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One further thought from me is that the people we found really helpful were our local county councillors. They are two steps up the ladder from town and district councillors so have far more clout but are not so far removed as your local MP is. They are local people who will live in your community and will understand all the issues involved. HTH
 

claire 1

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Hi,


What about an independant school- they might do scholorships to help with the fees.

Cheers

Claire x
 

liza smith

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hi guys
an update.
went to the meeting 2nite re: grammar school admissions.
this meeting was organised by 2 of the mum's involved.
it was in a large hall, with the speakers seated at tables faceing us parents (all 34 of us!).
there were 2 members from the L.E.A., representative from the kent county council, the local prospective tory mp, the lady govenor from highsted grammar school & a guy who is an independent advisor in these matters.
i was v.impressed.
i went along with my notes, & other parents had obviously done their homework.
one of the dads has spotted a possible loop hole in the appeals procedures.
it states that a further appeal may b granted if the circumstances have changed since the appeal hearing.
the thing that has changed is we've now got their high sat's results, so that may constitute as changed circumstances.
it also transpires that
1. even thou it stated on the appeals letter that the appeals MUST b in b4 march 27th, it appears that that is not the case & we can still appeal for a place at our 2nd & 3rd place choices!
2. if your child doesn't sit the 11+ in jan., they are elligible to sit it in sept 1st, so if everyone refuses to sit the 11 + untill sept 1st what will they do, put the date of the start of term back while they deal with it??!?
the independant advisor is going to fight for us as a group, & as individuals.
it will cost £200 per child, but hey, we've got to do SOMETHING.
i feel a lot more positive 2nite, because i now know what action we can/cannot take.
i'm still waiting to hear back from GMTV, but the 2 mums are on radio kent 2moro morn. at 8.20!
liza xx
 

cuticles

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Hi Liza, Sounds a very positive meeting, ie with attendees and with the number of representatives who appeared. Keep rocking!

Cathy
 

The Beauty Zoo

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Hi Liza,

Just read through all of this and wanted to wish you good luck. :)

It is quite worrying that things just don't change. Eleven years ago I had to fight to get my daughter into a single sex school and eventually got there on medical grounds - you have to use any means you can!!

You have to fight for your children, for the best that you can give them and for what you believe to be right. SO GO GIRL, KICK SOME BUTT!!!! :lol:

Loads of luck
 

HandyAndy

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Just wishing you luck.
 

dee

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good luck , i am having probs myself with my little one (nothing on your scale though ) and it stresses me so god only knows how frustrated you must feel, take care and dig your heels in , love dee
 

sambam

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thats appalling! wishing you good luck liza.
its not any help but when i was doing my a levels, 4 students in my year were really intelligent and did really hard subjects like, maths, further maths :eek: , physics (you get the picture!). anyway, they all got straight a's and had applied for oxford and cambridge. they attended their interviews and we were all confident they wud get in but not one of them was accepted! we put it down to oxbridge discriminating against them because there is no way they are not good enough! they could have accepted atleast one. they had the money so it cant have been that.
there was a girl from my brothers year who was accepted last year and she didnt do as well as my friends! but she has a middle-class background.hmm!
anyway ive finished my rant now! GOOD LUCK x
 

luckybird21

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hi liza, i went to school in sitt, how strange i had the same, i failed 11+ by 2 marks on maths, but got highest marks in others, I too was not allowed to go to highstead. What was annoying was that a certain girl from the same primary school (minterne) failed (quite badly too) she got into highstead, she was proud to tell every1 her parents helped, they bought highstead 3 new computers!!!! Even Mr Mcgrory (minterne head master) fought 4 me, as overall i had the highest mark in the school (if all subject results were added together, by the sounds of it your daughter has the same), but yet, i still didn't get a place.:cry:

I went to fulston manor instead, if all else fails, fms is a good school (i understand westlands has got extremly good too) i was in the grammer stream (g1) i passed all my gcse's (infact did maths a year early) and went on to do history a level, and advanced gnvq in business studies, i then got a job at spain brothers accountants in roman sq, (they would only take on fms students, i was the 1st ever work experience person there, fms fought 4 it, then when i finished a levels they conntacted fms, and offered me a job).

keep ure chin up, keep on fighting, don't give up like i did, (oh and maybe invest in a couple of computers! LOL!!):lol:
 

liza smith

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hiya guys
thanx for all your kind thoughts & advice.
i've had my meeting with the independent advisor & it looks like we have a gd case.
apparently because of a very misleading letter from the l.e.a, jema's teachers didn't sent ALL her yr 6 work, only the relevent work to the subjects that she didn't do so well in her 11+.
we have now been told that if all her work had been sent, she would've more than likely gone thro the headteachers appeal (the 1st appeal) :mad:
also the group of parents all agree that the appeal panel were very intimidating & uncourteous.
this is the 2nd thing that we will b going to the ombudsman with.
this appeal is costing us £200, but it has to b worth it.
after i've submitted all my evidence & my statement to the appeal guy, he'll deal with everthing from then on.
i've been in touch with all 3 of the comprehensives in sitt. & both westlands & fulston manor have been v.helpful.
basically, we have to turn up to each school on the 1st sept, & ask if there r any spaces!
there may or mayb not!
but, the bottom line is that i can do nothing more now until then, so i can let go of it all.
i'm v.proud of the way that jema is dealing with this.
she had her last day at bredgar 2day, & was the only one who didn't know where she was going to in sept.
however, i've made sure that she doesn't see me when i've been hysterical/seriously angry/on the verge of a nervous breakdown, so she feels that i'm in control & it will all b fine.
i told her last night , when she couldn't sleep, that nothing i have now has come easily, i've always had to fight for everything.
it makes you stronger & i'm sure it makes life more easy to deal with.
i'll keep u updated.
thanx again
liza xx
 

Lellipop

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Hiya Liza,
So glad the meeting went well, Hope that you manage to get a school near to your home for Jema.
 

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