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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:29 pm 
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"Explanation of Selection Review Process

The Selection Review Process (SRP) was designed to comply with paragraph 3.13 of the Admission Appeals Code which states:

3.13 An appeal panel may be asked to consider an appeal where the appellant believes that the child did not perform at their best on the day of the entrance test. In such cases:
a) where a local review process has not been applied, the panel must only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied:
i)that there is evidence to demonstrate that the child is of the required academic standards, for example, school reports giving Year 5/Year 6 SAT results or a letter of support from their current or previous school clearly indicating why the child is considered to be of grammar school ability; and
ii) where applicable, that the appellant's arguments outweigh the admission authority's case that admission of additional children would cause prejudice.
b) where a local review process has been followed, the panel must only consider whether each child's review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way and if there is no evidence that this has been done, the panel must follow the proces in paragraph 3.13a above."

There is no requirement set out in the Code that a local review process should replicate or replace the independent appeal process as there is still a right of appeal remaining.

Buckinghamshire grammar schools developed the Selection Review Process in conjunction with the Local Authority and primary school headteachers during 2012/13, and revised the process for 2014 admission. At the core of the process is a decision, based on written academic evidence and any extenuating circumstances, made by a panel of three experienced headteachers with clear understanding of the academic requirements of grammar schools. The panel's decision was recorded by an independent clerk.

Paperwork provided to the Panel

On receipt of the Secondary Transfer Test results, parents were provided with options as to what to do if they felt that their child was suitable for a grammar school,which included information to enable them to compile a written case in support of their child. Parents completed a request form and asked their child's primary headteacher to provide some standard information (a pro-forma was provided for this purpose). Primary headteachers were given clear guidance about the information they were to provide.

The following is an extract from the handbook provided to Buckinghamshire LA and Partner School headteachers who were all also invited to a meeting to set out the SRP requirements.

"Key information that the panel needs to make a decision

- The progress chart - this is a key piece of information that should be completed with sublevels to show the pupil's performance since the end of Key Stage 1.

- The headteacher recommendation and statement of support

- Parents are asked to evidence the ill health of a child at the time of testing. They are also asked 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. Please confirm where you have seen evidence of any exceptional or extenuating circumstances by ticking the box.

Information that the panel does not need to make a decision
- School Work - if it is provided, school work will not be included in the paperwork provided to the panel as they made the decision not to consider it as school work cannot easily be put in context and the overall performance in schoolwork should be clearly evidenced by the Key Stages and sub levels in the Progress Chart.

- Sporting/Music or other non-academic achievement certificates

- Photographs of the child (medical or otherwise)

Parents have been asked not to send original documentation, schoolwork or sports or music certificates or photographs of their child. If they do then it wll not be copied and included for the panel to consider, it will be securely disposed of."

Compilation of the Selection Review Panel

Each SRP consisted of three serving headteachers - two grammar school headteachers and one primary school headteacher. The headteachers sitting on any panel were taken from the trained pool of 15 primary headteachers and 13 grammar headteachers. The panels sat on 30 occasions and considered over 800 cases, with a maximum of approximately 30 cases per session. The panel members were advised that there was no limit or quota to the number of children they may qualify.

Declarations of interest forms were completed and collected in advance from panel members and this information was used to ensure that headteachers did not consider any cases where they had knowledge of the child or a link to the primary school. Information about a family's secondary school preferences was not provided to the SRP.

In all cases, the paperwork was available to the panel members seven days in advance of the meeting. Prior to the meeting, the panel pre-read and individually formulated a provisional decision. At each meeting, sufficient time was provided for each case to be considered carefully. At no time was the panel required to make a decision without having sufficient time to consider the case.

Training

All panel members have been trained and the training focussed on:
1) The attributes needed to perform will in a grammar school (delivered by grammar school staff who support Y7 pupils),
2) Key Stage 1 and 2 performance data, availability, recording and expectations (delivered by primary headteachers),
3) Issues surrounding disability awareness (delivered by and Educational Psychologist)
4) Discussion regarding exceptional reasons, their relative impact, the importance of establishing timeframes and seeking third party confirming evidence
5) Discussion of example cases
6) All of the panel members for 2014 had also been involved in the 2013 selection review process.

Process of considering cases

Parents had 14 days to request a review once the test results had been published. Cases were allocated to panels in no particular order or category except for cases either
a) previously considered by the Special Access Panel (panel that sits prior to the tests to consider requests for any special adjustments to the test materials, conditions or timing).
b) cases where an educational psychologist's report had been submitted as evidence.

These were allocated to a panel which was supported by an experienced Educational Psychologist who had no vote, and whose role was to provide professional information to the panel members. Where the case had already been considered by the Special Access Panel then the paperwork from this panel was provided to the SRP, including the pro forma used to record the Special Access Panel's decision

The paperwork compiled for each child comprised:

a) A sheet which set out key information about the child (e.g. test dates, test scores, school attended)
b) The parent's submission including the primary headteacher's report (where the parents chose to submit it)
c) Summary data of the pupils at that school (available for LA primary and partner schools)
d) A bar chart to show the overall score distribution achieved by the whole cohort

The case papers considered by the Selection Review Panel are attached as Appendix 5.

Clerking

The panel meetings were clerked by committee clerks from the council's Legal and Democratic Services Team. Prior to the SRP meetings, a training session was held to explain the role required of the clerk. hey were required to record the panel's decision for each child and to note any specific reasons the panel gave in coming to their decision. They completed a decision sheet on behalf of the panel. Where there was an application that cited disability, the panel worked through the disability decision-making process and recorded the outcome of that deliberation. Their handwritten record was provided to parents and is included in the SRP paperwork in Appendix 5 if applicable.

Moderation

The moderation Process included pupils as follows

- Cases referred by the Selection Review panels (both qualified and unqualified children)
- All review cases for pupils scoring 120 - 115 inclusive who were still not qualified
- All cases for pupils scoring 114 to 107 inclusive who were not qualified and who were recommended as 1.1

This is the data as at 5 February 2014 following the moderation sessions.

[table of scores, and decisions]
"


Many thanks to Purplerabbit for kindly providing the above.


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7063
Analysis of the school's general case for FCO

We've now compared the 2014 school case as set out above
with the 2013 version which can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=31963
Quote:
The Selection Review Process has been designed to comply with paragraph 3.13 of the Admission Appeals Code which states:
'3.13b) where a local review process has been followed, the panel must only consider whether each child's review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way and if there is no evidence that this has been done, the panel must follow the process in paragraph 3.13a) above'
[2013]
This year they've quoted 3.13a in full as well as 3.13b, which is more balanced. :)

Quote:
The following explanation demonstrates the care with which the Review Panel process was created and provides sufficient evidence to show that that the decisions of the Selection Review Panel are 'fair, consistent and objective'.
[2013]
Omitted this year. Probably wise to let the appeal panel decide what is or isn't 'sufficient' ....... :roll:

Quote:
There is no requirement set out in the Code that a local review process should replicate or replace the independent appeal process as there is still a right of appeal remaining.
No change - but what a shame that any mention of this in the information sent to parents was minimal.

Quote:
The decision was recorded by an independent clerk and observed by an independent moderator.
[2013]
The phrase "observed by an independent moderator" has been removed!
Mmm ......

Quote:
The SRP will normally expect there to be strong evidence of ....... exceptional reasons for underperformance in the tests.
[2013]
Interesting that this wording is no longer used - especially when the headteachers manual still says: "The SRP will normally expect there to be ........ exceptional reasons for underperformance in the tests."

Quote:
Panel members report that they spent on average five hours preparation in advance of each meeting.
[2013]
No such report is included for 2014.
Presumably, when parents worked out last year the average amount of time spent preparing a case, the figure didn't impress.

Quote:
Declarations or interest forms were completed and collected in advance from panel members (including moderators and clerks) and this information was used to ensure that headteachers did not consider any cases where they had knowledge of the child or a link to the primary school.
This remains the same - which rather begs the question why one of the grammar school heads has re-defined this and is on record as saying it only applies if "it is for example [a primary school] where his wife works", or "he knows a parent or child personally or socialises with the head". :roll:

On this basis some heads have declared that they have no links at all with any primary school .......

Quote:
Information about a family's secondary school preferences was not provided to the SRP.
Unchanged from last year - but the family's home address was provided, so the review panel could potentially be influenced by what some of the grammar school preferences were likely to be. For example, if the head of a grammar school in Buckingham were to see an address in Marlow, he might reasonably conclude that that child was unlikely to be applying to his school. But what about a child with an address in north Bucks/Milton Keynes?

Quote:
Training
All panel members have been trained ....
This remains the same. (Our understanding, though, is that there has been no follow-up training this year.)

Quote:
Once this process was complete, in line with council clerking policies, they then destroyed the hand written notes.
[2013]
This has now been omitted. No doubt the furore around 'destroying the evidence' last year had something to do with it .......

Quote:
The moderation Process included pupils as follows
- Cases referred by the Selection Review panels (both qualified and unqualified children)
- All review cases for pupils scoring 120 - 115 inclusive who were still not qualified
- All cases for pupils scoring 114 to 107 inclusive who were not qualified and who were recommended as 1.1
[2014]
This is new. Anyone with a score of 114-107, but without a 1:1, could reasonably ask what objective criteria primary school heads were meant to use to arrive at a 1:1 when there are no precise criteria listed in the headteachers manual.
Of course, headteachers are absolutely entitled to their professional opinion - but a review process must satisfy three separate criteria at the appeal stage: 'fair, consistent & objective'.
A glance at all the grids summarising headteacher recommendations will quickly show that a 1:1 from one headteacher is not the same as a 1:1 from another.

Quote:
Conclusion:
The Selection Review Panel Process was 'fair, consistent and objective' in coming to the decision that there was insufficient evidence to deem [child's name] qualified for a grammar school education.
[2013]
This was the ringing endorsement/conclusion at the end of the 2013 case .......
It has vanished!
Not surprising really, when one of the grammar school heads has helpfully tried to explain the objective criteria used in the review process. The gist of the conversation was follows:
Question: "What objective criteria were used?"
Response: "There is no tick list. It's a 'weighing up' of the evidence."
Question: "Isn't that subjective then?"
Response: "The information needed is clear."
Question: "Yes, the form specifies what school results should be given, but it does not set out what thresholds are required?"
Response: "There is no tick list or list of criteria but a 'weighing up' of the information provided which is different in each case."
Question: "So it's a subjective judgement?"


Even if the school's general case were flawless - which we suggest it clearly isn't - there would still need to be evidence that the review process was applied fairly, consistently and objectively in each individual case. For this the 'clerk's record' will require very careful scrutiny.


See also: FCO generic questions.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7063
With acknowledgements to the posters -

bucksdad8623 wrote:
At the end of the meeting the panel agreed that there would be prejudice to the school of further admissions, and the admission arrangements had been properly implemented.
Does this mean the panel agreed that communication from admissions had been clear?
I agree that it's confusing, but I don't believe they would have been taking decisions on 'fair, consistent & objective' at this point, when they haven't even heard what you want to say about your individual review at stage two.

purplerabbit wrote:
I think that it is fine to bring up general points at Stage 1 but you could then turn them into specific points for your stage 2.
I would agree with purplerabbit.

If you would have preferred to go straight to an appeal (if only everything had been properly explained to you at the point when you had to decide what to do), then tell the panel that you feel misled into a review, and ask whether this can possibly be fair. Point out that you would have put more faith in an independent panel, and a system which allows you to make representations in person, even if going straight to an appeal meant the school would be full by the time of the hearing.

As far as 'fair, consistent & objective' is concerned, at stage two you ought to be asking specific questions relating to your situation and the clerk's record of your review.

Quote:
I’ve prepared a draft statement which is more than 3500 words long
I turned pale when I read this!
Thankfully you have since found http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a9
Five to ten minutes is what I recommend - but this excludes questions you wish to raise about 'fair, consistent & objective'. (FCO is really the admission authority's case, not yours, so I wouldn't count questioning the admission authority as part of your own case.)

Quote:
Sorry Etienne, I didn’t mean to scare you.
I am trying a new tactic of boring the panel into submission. :lol:
Seriously I agree it is too long, it took me 18 minutes to read of which 7 minutes was related to FCO.
The reason it took 7 minutes was I structured it such that I made a point which lead to a question.
Do you know of a better approach?

As I've written elsewhere recently,
      Quote:
      "One question could be a one-liner, whereas another could be the equivalent of a whole paragraph!"

I accept that 'fair, consistent & objective' is complicated, but you're meant to be asking questions at this point, so I think the sooner you can get to the question, the better.

The following is only an example.

Let's take my paragraph:
      "If you would have preferred to go straight to an appeal (if only everything had been properly explained to you at the point when you had to decide what to do), then tell the panel that you feel misled into a review, and ask whether this can possibly be fair. Point out that you would have put more faith in an independent panel, and a system which allows you to make representations in person, even if going straight to an appeal meant the school would be full by the time of the hearing".

This needs to be turned into a question as soon as possible:
      "I know we discussed this in general at stage one, but in my particular case I feel I was misled into a review - can that possibly be fair?"

You might get an immediate concession -
      "No, it wasn't."

More likely would be an exchange of follow-up questions and answers, which might possibly develop as follows:

      Panel: "Why do you say that?"

      Parent: "Because if only everything had been properly explained at the point when I had to decide what to do, I would have opted for an unfettered hearing in front of an independent panel. Why is there no obvious explanation on here?" [Hold up yellow form]

      Panel: "What's that?"

      Parent: "It's the document we get sent immediately after the 11+ results telling us what we can do next. Isn't the whole system designed to direct parents towards a review without clearly explaining the consequences at the critical time?"

      Panel: "We've already dealt with this at stage one."

      Parent: "With respect, I'm not asking the panel to take a general decision. I'm asking the Presenting Officer whether, in my particular case, it can possibly be fair that I was not properly informed at the crucial time?"

      PO: "You do realise that for anyone going straight to an appeal, there would be no places left?"

      Parent: "Yes, but that would have been my informed choice. With great respect, Chair, you've very kindly given me the opportunity to question the Presenting Officer about 'fair, consistent & objective', and yet I'm the one being questioned. My question to Mr. PO is very simple - is what happened in my case fair?"

      PO: "I believe the process was fair."

      Parent: "And I'd be very grateful if the panel would consider carefully whether this process really was fair."

The point I'm seeking to make is that a series of short questions is infinitely better than a single question with an introduction equal in length to a paragraph!

Note too that you may be put on the defensive. By all means answer any points put to you, but very politely keep responding with a question!

_________________
Etienne


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