KatieC, it is a painful thing to go through especially with the expectation that whatever the situation our children should be grammar school product. I think the best thing to do is to provide substantive evidence like Yr5 SAT test result which will confirm that the child is suitable for a grammar school. Waiting till after March 2013 might just be too late as there are other people who would have put forward some form of mitigating evidence to confirm that their dd/ds is suitable for a grammar school environment.
In coming back to your point about the fact that children who have been 'coached will struggle' is not necessarily true. In our case, we did not make use of tutor other than monitoring our dd's progress as she was working through practice papers. Luckily for us, she is just a natural when it comes to Non-verbal reasoning and hence worked through all papers on her own except on more challenging situation whereby she will consult us for help. She was also in a good situation in her Maths with Yr5 SAT result of level 5b.
Those that have received coaching can still do well in a grammar school provided the parents continue to monitor progress rather than leaving things too late. Consistency is the only thing that has helped our dd to be successful in all three 11+ exams she tool in September 2012 [Bexley, Kent and Newstead Wood in Bromley]. This has worked similarly in other public exams she's done over the years like ABRSM [currently Grade 6 in both Theory of Music and Practical Piano].
Sata, you have just confirmed what I have just explained! Level 5 is the expected level in reviews. The Head in question may not have sent the child's details because that child did not reach Level 5 at Y5, did not have a high IQ ( above at least 130 ) and did not have a high Reading Age (13+). Only the parent in question will know. If the child fits that criteria or is v.close to it, as a KS2 assistant head, I would strongly suggest the parent contacts the Head for an immediate review and not wait until March.
I reiterate that the danger of overuse of 'Practice Papers', which bear no relation to academic subjects studied in the Primary school, is that they do not give a true picture of the ability of the child. I know of children who have passed the 11-plus this time after doing Practice Papers at home, with a tutor or both, yet their Y5 Optional Sats results were at Level 4. A child who has been a borderline fail by a few marks, due to not doing excessive Practice Papers, yet is of high academic achievement, is more likely to be comfortable at GS and even a high flyer. However, I recognise there are always the exceptions. I am pleased to say that children in local comps may do equally well, where the bright kids who go to pieces in VR tests and fail, or the late developers, have the opportunity to flourish academically.