Following on from the advice in the Q&As about writing a letter of appeal, I thought it might be of interest to take a practical example.
Here is the letter of appeal for Mary in Buckinghamshire.
Note the clear layout (introduction + academic points + extenuating circumstances + conclusion)
Note the brevity (less than a side of A4)
It’s rather good, isn’t it?
Notice any flaws?
(If the long list of academic evidence makes you lose heart, bear in mind the possibility that Mary might be fictitious …….)
Dear Members of the Panel
We would be grateful if you would consider this appeal for our daughter Mary on the following grounds:
* Attained 119 and 118 in the 11+
* Recommended as a “2”, and expected to pass with 121-130 by school
* “Very strongly” supported by the headteacher.
* High grades for achievement - please see attached copy of last report.
* VR scores of 126 (=96th percentile) in 2006, and 123 (=93rd percentile) in 2005 – please see Alternative Test Scores in the headteacher’s statement. 
* Level 3 for KS1 SATs
* Predicted level 5 for KS2 in English, Maths and Science
* Top group for Maths and English (in a high performing school) 
* A well-rounded character. Sociable. Actively participates in church youth group, local swimming club, etc. Junior chess champion. 
* We, and the school, and indeed Mary herself feel that she is more than suitable to be considered for a Grammar school placement and that she would have no trouble in achieving and maintaining the academic standard required. 
* Mary’s grandfather died at the beginning of July. This was obviously an upsetting time for the whole family, and did not help in the lead-up to the 11+. 
* Mary felt under a great deal of pressure to do well in the exams because her elder sister is already attending grammar school.  Knowing our children as we do, we have absolutely no doubt that Mary is actually much brighter than her sister. 
To sum up, we do feel very strongly that she is definitely grammar school material and that the structure and ethos of a Grammar will provide her with the best possible educational opportunities. We also believe that the reasons outlined above provide an adequate explanation as to why she fell short of the pass mark by such a small margin. 
Thank you for taking the time to consider our appeal, we look forward to meeting with you and answering your questions.
 Good to see at least two alternative VR scores. Shows consistency.
 Useful to have a context for "top sets", but only include the bit in brackets if it can be justified. The panel will have statistics showing how well the school has done at the 11+. If more
than a third of the children qualified, it’s above average. The panel might also know how well the school has been performing at KS2 relative to other Bucks schools – is it in the top 50%?)
 Should be omitted, apart from “junior chess champion”. Focus solely on the two criteria: academic points and extenuating circumstances. Anything else is a distraction, unless it’s an intellectual pursuit.
 Should be omitted. The school can speak for itself. Parents’ and Mary’s views are not evidence and don’t count! It’s for the panel to decide.
 Three months before the 11? Any evidence that schoolwork deteriorated?
 Sibling rivalry is understandable – but difficult to prove.
 There’s no point in forcefully asserting things. This isn’t evidence.
 Yet more assertions! With weak extenuating circumstances, some cautious humility might be appropriate, e.g. “We hope you would be prepared to take the view that these extenuating circumstances are sufficient to explain a gap of only two marks”. (I would only use the phrase “gap of only
two marks” for 119. Otherwise: “shortfall in marks”. (Sometimes parents talk about a gap of "only
six marks"! Every point difference could represent many hundreds of children. The Richter scale comes to mind!)
The extenuating circumstances in Mary's case are weak because there’s no evidence. With scores of 119 and 118, however, this might not matter too much. The academic evidence is certainly very strong.
I think it very likely “Mary”’s appeal will succeed!
Only my views. Hope they help .....