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 Post subject: Professional Appeal?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
Of all the appeals I heard this year, only one stands out in my mind. It just felt as if it had been professionally produced, from the parents presentation (having their speech written on cards, and handing over between each other as if they were newsreaders) to the panel down to a heading to their appeal document saying something legalese such as "We reserve the statutory right to question the admission authority" (although it said a lot more than that). There were also the obligatory happy smiling 'photos of child plonked in front of us at the start of the appeal.

The parents were also going to bring an advisor, but didn't in the end.

It was ironic that their core case was so strong they could have sent in the appeal on the back of a used shopping list and turned up on the day and just smiled, and would still have won the appeal (and probably without spending a lot of money).

Human emotions being as they are, all three of us on the panel came to this appeal thinking that we really didn't want to allow it partly because of the style, the legal way of writing - generally very stroppy. Oddly, the parents didn't seem to be at all that way inclined, so that again hinted at outside help. We try to put our emotions and prejudice to one side and just deal with the facts of the case, but in general, it's not a good idea to upset the panel before you've even walked into the room!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:37 pm 
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A very interesting post, Capers.

Would like to add it to this section in the next version of the Q&As. :)
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... rs.php#a11

Thank you

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:56 am 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
Etienne wrote:
A very interesting post, Capers.

Would like to add it to this section in the next version of the Q&As. :)
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... rs.php#a11

Thank you

I'd be honoured!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:26 pm 
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Posts: 229
Hi Capers, very interesting post. It ably demostrates the pressure parents feel. One only has to skip through this section of the forum to gain an awareness of the good and bad practise expereinced by appellants.
I see your point clearly and agree entirely that it's not wise to get off to a bad start. Unfortunately not all panels are made up of appropriate and fair minded personnel - it sounds to me like the family you mentioned feared this and hence their adopted approach - unusual as it might have seemed! :)
The whole system of appeal in our area changed because we challenged the bad practise which had continuted unchecked for years. With prior knowledge of the regime - we too feared the process, and it was every bit as bad as we had been warned. I'm thinking that these poor guys were just hugely intimidated - well done for managing to keep your sense of humour. What a job! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:37 am 
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Quote:
Human emotions being as they are, all three of us on the panel came to this appeal thinking that we really didn't want to allow it partly because of the style, the legal way of writing - generally very stroppy.


I think we can all sympathise with this view, Capers. I know I would feel exactly the same :D

Personally, I have two issue with the appeals process (in my area, at least). One is that it’s too subjective to command respect – different panels give more or less weight to different criteria.

The other is that it’s portrayed as being a formal, quasi-legal process and yet you aren’t able to challenge the panel’s opinion. You have a clerk taking notes but if you query something in those notes you are told that ‘they aren’t a verbatim account’.

None of this is entirely satisfactory.

I accept Etienne’s point that an appeal can never be wholly objective, but I do feel that the process could be considerably tightened up and made more transparent. For example, it seems manifestly unfair that tests some children don’t even take can be used as the main determinant in other children’s appeals.

Is my opinion coloured by the fact that we didn’t succeed? Almost certainly :D but I’d be interested to hear a robust defence of the way the appeals process works.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:09 am 
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Location: Berkshire
The only people I know to be succesful at appeals this year brought legal representation with them. This speaks volumes I think :shock:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:47 pm 
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I think it would be unwise to draw conclusions from a small sample where the appellants might have won their case unaided anyway. :o

Appeals panels can go for years without seeing a solicitor or barrister on the other side of the table - and yet nationally around a third of appeals are successful.

The Code states:
Quote:
Appellants are free to have legal representation at admission appeal hearings if they wish, but this ought not to be necessary. It is important to bear in mind that the hearing is not intended to be a platform for a debate on the law.

My own experience of numerous appeals was that on the rare occasion a solicitor or barrister turned up, it did nothing to strengthen the appellant's case. It just made the atmosphere more formal (I hesitate to say "less sympathetic").

I can see that in very exceptional cases where the legal basis for something is not entirely clear, it could be helpful to have a solicitor or barrister, provided it is someone who specialises in education law. Otherwise, IMHO, it would be a waste of money.

And don't get me started on whether to pay for an appeals "consultant" ...... :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:51 pm 
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Here here Etienne,

A legal representative wouldn't have made the slightest difference at our appeal (other than to our pocket). And hey - if we'd thought it would have made a difference, we certainly would have employed one. It would have been a good deal less expensive than private school fees! :D

I think Rob sums it up when he says that the variation nationwide is too great to give families confidence, and for the premise of legality - in many cases the rules are not strictly adhered to. As you say......don't get me started! lol :)


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