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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:11 pm
Posts: 117
I have been following with great interest the feedback on past appeals.

One thing that comes through is that those who appeal to more than one school do not seem to disadvantage themselves at all. All the advice you find -and we spent days trawling everything in sight and bought a top level advice pack from one of the providers - says that you should not dilute your case.

I would make the following points:

1. If you are embarking on this then not only have you had the shock of your DC massively underperforming on the day but you have had a bad year with other causes of stress;

2. There is no dry-run. The panels vary hugely and it is not scientific. You have no way of knowing what they want. It is hard to prepare properly and adequately.

All of this means you are going into the unknown - for the first one. If you really honestly and effectively "wash-up" from this first appeal you are on really good grounds for your second one.

We are one of many families who were succesfull on our second appeal. I do not believe that this is an accident. The second school we appealed to had not had a succesfull appeal for over 10 years and while we did have good mitigating circumstances not as good as some families whose stories are on threads on this site and have lost. For each family the learning process will be different but I will list what we learned below just in case it helps anyone at all.

We analysed the questions and realised that they had been probing to find out whether we had asked for our DS to sit the exam on another day. At our first appeal we didn't answer this effectively. Obviously we had not but that was because we didn't know we could for the circumstances we were in. We must have just looked like a couple of scared and bewildered rabbits to the panel though.

We had underestimated the strength of one of our mitigating circumstances - a boy crying in front of our DS.

So at the second appeal we researched and researched the code. We gathered statistics from other grammars using the same exam and allocation system and gave evidence that other schools from the CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex) granted appeals year after year, although not in great number, and appeals to this school inevitably failed. We read the part of the code outlining what the panel should be taking on board and appealed for justice.

When we were asked whether we had asked for the exam date to change we referenced paragraphs of the code and the CSSE's own guidance to demonstrate that, given our circumstances this would not have been permissably and that, in fact, it would have been a very risky thing to do and our request would probably have been declined.

We emphasised the crying boy and referenced guidance notes from other examining bodies listing marks to be added for specific circumstances.

We left absolutely nothing to chance. We went through every web-site and listed every question asked and worked through all the angles on all of them. We spend night after night on it.

On the day who knows exactly why we won but we did. :D

I wish everyone the very very best of luck. If you want more info just send me a PM and I will do everything I can to help.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 pm
Posts: 800
Location: Kent
This is an interesting overview, and I would say very factual....

We too sat 2 appeals. The first was a complete washout. I was asked questions, but like you looked like the scared rabbit in the headlights and just expected the panel would understand. How could they not? :? They didn't, and we lost.

Appeal number 2. I was super prepared, in fact had a folder heaving with evidence I didn't produce but was able to dip in to the bits needed at that moment in time to answer in full any questions. At this hearing I was ready for the most valid point, how could I tell DS was affected on the day of the test and could the circumstances I described really explain his results? I was not about to put in writing the most personal and devastating facts so needed to say out loud (which I was told by the chair I didn't need to answer in the first). IF YOU ARE ASKED A QUESTION MAKE SURE YOU ANSWER IT!!!!!

The experience reminded me of a job I applied for and had an interview. Thought I was prepared but they asked questions I had no idea about and I didn't get the job, 6 months later another equivalent post became available and I was still very keen on it so applied again, was interviewed and that time success!

Wouldn't it be marvelous if there was a dummy run??!!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Most of the grammar appeals I hear are for parents who (I'm pretty sure) are just appealing for the one school. For a start, if they're appealing on purely over-sub grounds, then they may well have been offered a place at another grammar nearby.

Startled rabbits is certainly a phrase that applies to some parents, but most panel members I know will try & draw out the answers they need to know from even the most scared of parents. To me, a parent being well prepared, having piles of notes, sending in a bound colour portfolio or being a good presenter of the material isn't that important - it's the strength of the actual reasons that is.

For instance, I've been hearing some non-grammar oversubscription appeals recently. The parents who came in, barely literate (at least one was illiterate), scared because of the imposing surroundings (probably the only similar surroundings they'd been in before was a magistrates court), some with learning difficulties, stood as much chance of success as the forceful business-persons & professionals, some bringing professional support. They didn't stand a better chance because of our sympathy - as sympathy isn't reserved for underdogs. I feel all the childrens' cases had a fair and even hearing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
An interesting post by dutchy.

Appeals are unpredictable! Looking at panickingmum's feedback, her 1st appeal failed, the 2nd was successful, the 3rd failed even though "I felt that this one had by far been our best and that we stood the most chance".

Some factors are totally outside your control (for example, where the issue is oversubscription, your chances might be seriously affected by the strength of other appellants' cases).

I endorse Capers' point that a good, experienced panel will always draw the important facts out of even the most inarticulate of appellants - but panels are only human and they do vary.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:18 pm
Posts: 147
Location: NW Kent
We appealed to 2 GS (for complicated reason i won't go into here) but both appeals were very, very different. The first was very logical and the panel asked lots of questions i thought were very relevant. The second was a nightmare, the panels questions were all over the place, still relevant but and i came out very despondant. Looking back i feel that they both already had a good take on the points we were trying to get across before we walked into the room, but that with the great wonder of hindsight, i'll never know if its true. We also had some information on the panel members before hand although i don't feel any of them presented a problem - they were just people with different personalities - like you and me. We too were a bit like startled rabbits- sweaty wringing hands, fast heart rate, tears, etc

We sent in a 4 page case detailing most of what i felt was important as i didn't want to take the chance that something important was missed on the day and it was all very inter-related. This is not what Etienne or Sally-Anne would advise i know.

We won both but had been holding out for the second school. However i do feel, and have for a long time but never written it before ...... and i'm really going out on a limb here by saying it.......that the ongoing needs of a child may win out over issues incurred on the day of the 11+. I'd be interested on other people point of view on this :?


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