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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Details have now been provided to primary school head teachers about the new Selection Review process, which replaces the previous non-qualification appeal process.

I have copied and pasted the relevant section of the Head's Manual below. The full document can be found here, https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/schoo ... R_2013.pdf , the Review Section (F) is on pp. 35 - 39, and the Selection Review forms are on pp. 64 - 67.

Quote:
What is a Selection Review?

The Selection Review Process has been designed to provide a fair, consistent and transparent process that can be accessed by the parents of children who have not qualified for grammar school by virtue of the 11+ test results. Buckinghamshire grammar schools developed the process in conjunction with the Local Authority and primary school headteachers during 2012.

The process will be administered on behalf of the grammar schools by the LA acting as the ‘11+ Testing Administrator.
This local review process does not replace a parent’s right of appeal against the refusal of a place at a school for which they have applied. In the summer term parents of non-qualified children will be able to appeal for a grammar school and, as part of that appeal, they can ask the Independent Appeal Panel to consider whether the child’s review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way. Following an unsuccessful review, an IAP will only consider whether each child’s review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way. It would be only if there is no evidence that this was the case that they would consider other evidence provided by the parent seeking to demonstrate that their child is of the academic standard required for a grammar school.

Compilation of the Selection Review Panel (SRP)

Each SRP will consist of three serving headteachers – two secondary headteachers and one primary headteacher - drawn from a trained pool. A panel will have a quorum of three. Additionally, for each review panel, a further primary and secondary headteacher will be nominated as substitutes.

To avoid conflicts of interest, cases for the primary panel members’ schools will not be scheduled for a panel they are sitting on. All panel members will be required to complete a Declaration of Interest form in order to avoid hearing cases of pupils known to them or schools in which they have an interest.

Cases will be allocated to panels in no particular order or category except for cases previously considered by the Special Access Panel (panel that sits prior to the testing to consider any special adjustments to the testing method) which will be allocated to a panel which will have information from an educational psychologist. However, the EP has no vote, providing professional information only.

Late testers (and exceptional late review requests) will be considered at regular intervals.

Where the case has already been considered by the Special Access Panel then the paperwork from this panel will be provided to the SRP, this will include the pro forma used to record the panel’s decision. SR panels will be moderated for consistency by a former primary school headteacher who will observe a selection of panel meetings.

Parents will be advised of the outcome of their review in writing. The outcome letter will include a summary of the process, including the moderation stage. For each child who is unsuccessful, this letter will also include a summary of the decision and the information considered by the panel including whether the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet was part of the case. Parents will also be advised about the right of, and grounds for, appeal.
The Clerk to the Selection Review Panel will record the review decision for each child on an individual pro forma. This, together with the child’s review paperwork and decision letter will be provided to the Independent Appeal Panel should an appeal subsequently take place.

Triggering a selection review

After the results are released in November, parents may wish to speak with their child’s headteacher to help them decide whether their child would be appropriately placed in a grammar school and whether any review is likely to be strongly supported. Headteachers will be asked to complete the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet, and will be sent the paperwork for the review so that they may provide it to parents. The results will be provided to LA and Partner school headteachers so that they can have an indication regarding which pupils will be going to review, and to enable headteachers to anticipate the need for paperwork being requested.

An example of the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet attached as an appendix and a template is available to download and complete from the SchoolsWeb.

A copy of the completed Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet should be given to the parents. Additional letters of support will not be considered either from the headteacher or other school staff as the Selection Review Summary Sheet can be amended to indicate that it contains the opinions of all the school staff. It can expand if filled in electronically to incorporate longer statements of support. If you provide the document to parents as a soft copy we suggest you convert the final version to a pdf before providing it to them.

Where a child has recently joined the school, every effort should be made to include information from the previous headteacher when completing the Headteachers Selection Review Summary Sheet.

The decision to request a review is a decision that only parents can make. The case of any child who has not qualified can be considered at selection review. However, not every child’s review will be successful.

Parents will request a Selection Review by completing and returning the Parents’ Selection Review Request Form (an example is attached as an appendix) following the receipt of their child’s test results. However, primary school headteachers may also encourage a parent to request a review and support them in completing the paperwork.

Parents have 14 days to return the request form (and supporting evidence) following receipt of their child’s test results. Parent Partnership or similar support can be provided on request if a parent has difficulty in completing the forms.

For administrative clarity parents are asked to send in the Review Request form, the Headteachers Review Summary Sheet and any other paperwork they wish to submit. Parents must be aware that the contents of the headteacher form are your professional judgement of the child, and you must not change your comments to be more favourable to the child solely at the request of the parents.

Parents must return their Selection Review Request form to the Admissions and Transport Team by the deadline. If a request form is received later than this, it may not be possible to schedule the review within the normal timescale. Where parents are awaiting further information to support their review they should not delay sending the review request form. Instead they should indicate that further information is due to follow (for receipt by 14 December) and return the form to the Admissions and Transport Team at:

Admissions and Transport Team
Learning, Skills and Prevention
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Aylesbury HP20 1UZ.
Tel: 01296 383250
Or email to: admissions@buckscc.gov.uk

For test results issued on 30 November 2012, parents have until 14 December 2012 to return their completed review request form. Otherwise, they have 14 school days from the date on the review form.

Selection reviews will be heard during January and the outcomes will be posted to parents on 8 February 2013. Headteachers will be advised of the outcomes at this time.

The following explains how you should manage the selection review documentation:

 Meet with the parents
 Provide parents with a Selection Review Pack which includes:
1. Parents Selection Review Request Form
2. Information Leaflet
 Discuss the possibility of pursuing a selection review with the parent and, if requested, complete the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet returning it to the parent for submission to the Admissions and Transport Team. At the same time, you may send a master copy to the Admissions and Transport Team for safekeeping and keep a copy for your own records.
 It is only on receipt of the parent’s Review Request Form indicating either that the headteachers form is enclosed or is not going to be submitted that the Admissions and Transport Team will allocate a SRP date for the case to be considered. Parents’ forms sent in with the headteacher’s form ‘to follow’ will only be scheduled when the parent sends in the rest of the outstanding information. Receipt will be acknowledged within 5 working days.
 Once all the reviews have been considered there will be a moderation exercise and only then, once this is completed, will the outcomes be released.
 Ensure that parents are aware that information relating to their child’s performance in the tests (including raw scores and test paper analysis where this has been requested) and any request for adjustments to the test materials or conditions (made under the Equality Act 2010) will be provided to the SRP. Section I4 details how parents can request a remark of their child’s test papers, the release of their raw test scores and an analysis of their scoring in the individual sections of each test.

In some cases having read their copy of the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet, parents may not wish for it to be considered by the Selection Review Panel. In this instance, parents indicate this by ticking the box on the Selection Review Request Form. This process has been adopted to ensure each case considered by the SRP only contains information according to the parents’ wishes.

Parents can send the information listed below in support of their review either with their Selection Review Request Form or at a slightly later date. However, all supporting information, including the Headteachers Selection Review Summary Sheet, must be received by 14 December 2012 at the very latest.

Key information that the panel needs to make a decision

• Key Stage 1 information should be included if there is concern that recent performance has dipped due to social/medical reasons.
• Other professional evidence could be included (medical /social /other educational evidence)
• Parents are asked to evidence the ill health of a child at the time of testing. Also, to evidence parental illness, and to provide evidence from their employer/senior officer to explain lengthy absences such as parent serving in armed forces abroad in combat zone. Additionally, evidence of exceptional circumstances in the lead up to the tests may be provided e.g. significant issues such as evidence of house move, death of close family member.
• The Selection Review Panel do not require to see school work and, if it is provided, will not include it as part of their decision making.

2. Good practice

Children on the same scores may have different outcomes and this will be as a result of the weight of information provided. Invariably, successful cases have strong headteacher support and there are often significant factors that mean the child will not have been able to perform to the required level. However, it is important to remember that each case is decided upon its own merits. The SRP will normally expect there to be strong evidence of both high academic ability and exceptional reasons for underperformance in the tests.
Please be realistic when completing the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet.
• Predicted SATs need to be realistic in the light of the strength of your recommendation and your school’s historic SATs results.
• When quoting any test batteries such as CATS all results should be included, please do not quote partial or selected elements only.
• Extenuating circumstances can be referred to at question 6.
• Be aware that your choice of language is important on the form as it will indicate the degree of support you are expressing.

Please also refer to B15.


(B15 is the Head Teachers' recommendation form.)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Quote:
Parents have 14 days to return the request form (and supporting evidence) following receipt of their child’s test results.


This sentence caught my eye ... a very interesting publication!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:22 pm 
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For some general observations about local reviews see:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b18

Quote:
SR panels will be moderated for consistency by a former primary school headteacher who will observe a selection of panel meetings.
An ex-primary school head making subjective judgements about the subjective judgements of review panels (when no two cases are likely to be identical in all respects)? :roll:
I would have thought moderation a near impossible task!

It could well be argued that selection appeal panels were not consistent - but they were never required to be so.
(The ombudsman accepted that each selection appeal panel was a separately constituted legal entity with the unfettered right to take its own decisions.)

The situation for review panels will be completely different if - as expected - the admission authority wishes to argue at any subsequent appeal that there has already been a 'fair, consistent and objective review'.

Quote:
The Clerk to the Selection Review Panel will record the review decision for each child on an individual pro forma. This, together with the child’s review paperwork and decision letter will be provided to the Independent Appeal Panel should an appeal subsequently take place.
I am somewhat reassured by this - but it remains to be seen to what extent the pro forma will amount to more than a tick box exercise.

Parents whose child scores below 121 will now face a very difficult choice.

    1. If they take part in a review, their rights at any subsequent appeal could be very seriously limited because the Appeals Code states that, provided the review was fair, consistent and objective, no other issues can be considered at appeal.

    Reviews will take place behind closed doors. We have no idea how long will be spent on each case - except that it is likely to be much less than at an appeal, not least because parents will be excluded from attending, and will have no opportunity to expand on their case and to answer any questions the panel may have.

    See also Mostlymum's post about "exceptional reasons for underperformance" further below.
    Compared with an appeal process, this seems to set the bar for a successful review exceptionally high.

    2. Parents who opt not to go for a review, will be guaranteed a full hearing in front of an independent appeal panel, and the opportunity to present their case in person and to answer questions. However, the grammar schools for which they are appealing could be full up by the time appeal hearings take place, which would mean another front opens up and they will also have to argue that their reasons for wanting a place outweigh any prejudice that would be caused to the school by the admission of an extra pupil.

It is to be anticipated that many parents will be coming on to the forum anxiously seeking advice whether they should focus their efforts on a review or an appeal. There is no easy answer to this. All we can say is "Think very carefully - be aware that if you opt for a review, the scope of any subsequent appeal to an independent panel could be severely curtailed".



Edited to add:

In defence of the new system, it will be argued that local reviews take place elsewhere in the country - conveniently omitting to mention that Kent (which has the largest number of grammar schools) makes no attempt to claim there has already been a fair, consistent and objective review, and does not therefore restrict parents' rights to a full independent appeal hearing.

The 'spin' being put on the new system is that it will be 'so much less stressful for parents'. That's fine if you're happy that the process will take place in secret behind closed doors, with parents excluded. What no one has rushed to say in public is that the real reason for reviews is that they're cheaper to run. Reviews are certainly not being introduced with the best interests of parents foremost in mind, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

We understand that some headteachers may have been misinformed that selection appeals were not 'proper appeals' anyway, because there was no statutory basis for them. If so, this is erroneous. Section 94 of the SSFA (School Standards & Framework Act) gives the right of appeal against any decision (note the words "any decision") as to the school at which education is to be provided, and since non-selection amounts to a decision not to offer a place at any grammar school, it follows that there is a right of appeal against the decision not to deem a child qualified. In  AS  v  Buckinghamshire  County  Council  [2010]  UKUT  407  (AAC), following an appeal to the Upper Tribunal, Judge Ward ruled that the local authority's determination of grammar school eligibility was a decision "as to the school at which education is to be provided for the child", and that therefore the appeal to the IAP provided by the local authority was an appeal for the purposes of section 94 of the SSFA 1998 (as opposed to a "local review").

It is rumoured that there are now headteachers and governors who have misgivings about the direction in which they have been led, and feel that decisions have been rushed. Moreover, as far as we can ascertain, there has been no consultation with the Appeals section at county hall - in other words, the very people who have expertise appear to have been sidelined!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:33 pm 
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Quote:
The SRP will normally expect there to be strong evidence of both high academic ability and exceptional reasons for underperformance in the tests.


This concerns me. From what I've understood in the past, any extenuating circumstances were taken as a contributory factor but the academic evidence formed the bulk of the appeal - maybe i was mistaken. What do you think?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:51 pm 
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A very good point!

It's certainly different from the Appeals Code where there is no longer any specific mention of 'extenuating circumstances'.
See: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=24978

Appeals are governed by legislation. With local reviews, however, there are no prescribed rules!

I wouldn't have a problem with 'extenuating circumstances', but "exceptional reasons for underperformance" sets the bar exceptionally high.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:38 am 
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Once again, I find that I grateful this all behind me - those with younger children have my sympathies.

However, on a lighter note, this caught my eye:

Quote:
Learning, Skills and Prevention


What a splendid name for the department :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:18 am 
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Thankfully I have all this behind me and I have been fortunate not to have had the trauma of going for appeal with my four. I have known many friends over the years who have been to appeal and I have seen how stressful this whole procedure is and the months of preparation required. I wonder if this new procedure may take some pressure away, as if the child in question is suited for Grammar school and the primary school has the academic evidence collected over the primary years SATS etc there should not be a problem.The advice on this site is always evidence evidence.I cannot imagine how stressful it must be as a parent sitting before a panel trying to put your case forward. It may also be fairer for some parents who are not as well informed as most of the parents on this site.I come across many parents in my line of work who would never have the confidence or knowledge to prepare and present an appeal for their child and if the school is able to support such children surely this would give more bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds a fairer chance of gaining a Grammar School place ,which is meant to be the reason behind Grammar Schools, which we all know is not really the case nowadays.
I have read with interest for some time the different cases presented on the appeals section and I must admit even though I am no expert I think I have been correct in guessing who won an appeal and the parents who failed in the majority of cases. Maybe I am too trusting but it is so upsetting to see the stress parents are going through there must surely be a better way.Children going to Grammar School have to be able to keep up with the pace and the workload mine have all got respectable 11 plus scores but have had to work hard, it is not all about getting in they are there for seven years of their childhood and I have seen children where it is obvious they are not in the right environment.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:17 am 
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Quote:
I cannot imagine how stressful it must be as a parent sitting before a panel trying to put your case forward. It may also be fairer for some parents who are not as well informed as most of the parents on this site.I come across many parents in my line of work who would never have the confidence or knowledge to prepare and present an appeal for their child
There is no denying the appeal process is stressful.

As far as parental input goes, however, do you really think the more disadvantaged parents (some of whom might have difficulty putting pen to paper) will be better off in a system that relies solely on written submissions?

I certainly heard many cases that would never have got past a review panel, but where gentle, skilful probing on the part of appeal panel members enabled them to clarify all the issues and take a well-informed decision in favour of the parents.

it is important to understand that an appeal panel has an ‘enabling role’ (unlike a review panel). It can go out of its way to assist parents who are finding the process difficult. It can encourage and coax them into presenting their case, and tease out the information it needs.

You can be pretty sure review panels - unable to question parents - will go for decisions that on paper look 'safe'. Heavily tutored children with scores of 120, who attend predominantly middle class schools that know what to put in a reference, and with parents who can submit an articulate presentation, will probably do better under this system (even though 120 might truly reflect the limit of their potential, and these could be the very children who might struggle at grammar school).

It's children with potential from disadvantaged backgrounds who are likely to be the losers.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:30 pm 
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"I certainly heard many cases that would never have got past a review panel, but where gentle, skilful probing on the part of appeal panel members enabled them to clarify all the issues and take a well-informed decision in favour of the parents. "

I apologize if I am being naive here, the point I was trying to make was that parents who are from more disadvantaged backgrounds would be unlikely to even arrive at the stage of presenting themselves in front of an appeal panel. Many of the families I work with feel very intimidated regarding "people in authority" so would be unlikely to take this on themselves. By reading the appeals forum regularly even parents who are well educated and well informed seem to have difficulty preparing and putting a case together, how on earth do less well educated and savvy parents even know where to start. I am sure as professionals headteachers must know which children they truly believe would be suitable for a Grammar School education and those who would find the pace too much and struggle. If there were to be children who are bright but from difficult backgrounds and the teachers believed in them this could actually be a positive move, after all Grammar Schools are meant to be for bright children regardless of background (unfortunately this does not seem to be the case anymore) The gap seems to be widening between those who are "in the know" and those who are not.
Some parents will never admit to their child not being suitable for Grammar school regardless of advice being given by teachers and in these cases they will be able to make their own case. Maybe more parents who may not otherwise have had the courage to go for an appeal would go for a review especially if the school was supportive of their child.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:33 pm 
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There is a conundrum on timing here which concerns me.

The process outlined above states that all evidence must be submitted within 14 days, and yet I find it unlikely that a remark and analysis, where requested, would be completed within that timescale.

From Section I4 of the Heads' Manual:

Quote:
Where a child has taken part in the 11+ testing process we are willing to provide, upon receipt of the appropriate fee:

1. Raw scores only - £10 fee
2. Raw scores, test papers remarked by hand and then analysed - £40 fee

We will only offer this service at certain times of the year immediately following the release of test results, and therefore all requests must be made within 21 days of the parents receiving notification of their child’s performance in the tests. Where a request is received after this date, the LA may refuse to provide the information.
Under Schedule 7(9) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are not required to provide exam scripts or the information recorded in them, hence we will only provide this information on the payment of a £40 fee as we are required to undertake extra work in order to provide the requested information.

In all instances, we would suggest that the parent discusses their intention to request such information with you. All requests must be made in writing and be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

We hope that parents will be able to request, and pay for, the services above online, and where a parent requests the information in 1 or 2 above, we will tell them how they may do this.

Any parent paying by cheque should make it payable to Buckinghamshire County Council.

Where this information is requested we will, in all cases, provide it to the Selection Review Panel.

Most parents seeking a Review will meet with the Head at some point during w/c 3rd December, often towards the end of the week. The parent would then need to submit their request for a remark and analysis by post, and the likelihood is therefore that it would not reach the Admissions team for action earlier than Monday 10th December.

Even if the Admissions team dedicated themselves to turning the remarks around within 24 hours (which is highly unlikely at that time of year, given that it is only four weeks before the primary school application deadline), the very earliest that parents will receive their copy of the analysis is likely to be Thursday or Friday of that week, with the Friday being the deadline for the submission of all evidence to the Review Panel.

Given that these timings are almost certainly unachievable in reality, the remark and analysis would be submitted to the Review Panel at some point beyond the 14 day deadline, and without the parents or the Head having the opportunity to comment on it in their evidence submission.

Another potential issue with timing is this:

Quote:
Parents have 14 days to return the request form (and supporting evidence) following receipt of their child’s test results. Parent Partnership or similar support can be provided on request if a parent has difficulty in completing the forms.

I wonder if Parent Partnership has been made aware that their staff may be required to support and assist parents within such a tight deadline, and whether they actually have the resources to achieve that?

Etienne wrote:
It's children with potential from disadvantaged backgrounds who are likely to be the losers


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