I heard yesterday that Conor’s appeal wasn’t successful. I am so sad for him and his parents. He is truly terrified about attending the school he has been allocated, but there now seems to be nothing they can do.

I feel really angry at the system. Here is a family that sees education as important. Although neither parent is very literate, they have high expectations for their children. They expect them to behave and to work hard and they care about the education that they receive. Yet, because they are not terribly literate, they have failed to understand how the transfer to secondary school works. Yes, they were sent the fifteen page, 10 font booklet with dense information. However, not really surprisingly, they didn’t manage to read it all.

Connor sat the exam for the highly selective grammar school (one in eight applicants get a place), but did not realise that there are other, less selective grammar schools they could have applied for. They put down the name of one school without realising that it had an entrance exam and they didn’t think to mention their child’s hearing problem on the application form.

Now their appeals have failed, there is no more they can do. Unlike others I have heard of who are prepared to remortgage their houses to educate their children privately rather than to the school in question, they don’t own their house to remortgage. They cannot afford to move nearer a better school and hope that a place comes up and they certainly couldn’t home school.

So how do their children reach the aspirations they have for them?

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