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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:32 am 
we have just heard that our appeal was unsuccessful and feel absolutely outraged and desolate.Similar to lg under Bucks appeal heading.Our daughter scored 120 and 116, had all the high recommendationsof the school, 1:1, level 5's etc.She was ranked 13th out of 31. 2 above her didn't pass on 118 and 119, 3 ranked below her did.
Four more pupils ranked 16th,17th,19th and 20th with scores of 120,120 119,119 have now has successful appeals.The pupil ranked 12th with a score of 119 has also had a successful appeal. How can the system justify such an awful decision? It is cruel and outrageous.We have a son and another daughter at grammar school already, we appealed for this daughter back in 2003 because she got 119.How can our daughter who scored 120 and didn't get her appeal ever get over this injustice. We will take the matter further, if anyone can advise us on this, we would be very grateful, i'm not sure what all this is doing to my poor daughter!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:02 am 
I am so sorry - you must all be devastated. As I said yesterday, it's time the appeal system was reviewed. The decisions are too arbitrary - it seems different panels interpret evidence in different ways - THIS IS NOT FAIR!!

I would ask for the papers and go through them with a fine toothcomb - did the panel consider everything? If not get back to the LA and go to the Ombudsman.

Some panel members need better training - even the LA rep corrected them twice in our appeal in 2005 - the 12+ righted the wrong in our child's case


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:04 am 
Dear CP,

I am horrified with this result! You could hardly have had a better case. My sympathies are with you.

Guest1


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Dear CP

I'm very sorry to hear your news. I'm afraid I haven't time to get involved in the details of everyone's case, but I'll try to make a few comments.

I obviously have no way of knowing why your panel took the decision they did. They may have been influenced by the second score. 120/116 is not as strong a case as 120/120 would have been. People sometimes say "that's not fair - the system is based on the higher score," but if the only thing that mattered is the higher score, there'd be no point in having an appeal. The appeal is an opportunity to consider all the available evidence.

My own view would be not to pay too much attention to headteacher rankings. I always found them to be erratic because it's an almost impossible task to rank a whole class accurately. And to combine two or more classes, with different teachers, must be a nightmare.

However, strong support from a realistic head ought to count for a lot, so I would look to see: What percentage of the "1"s actually scored 131-141? What percentage of the "2"s actually scored 121-130?

As with LG's case, I don't know all the facts, and I would caution others against rushing headlong into judgement.

It's difficult to make comparisons with other cases because one doesn't always know the extenuating circumstances, and exactly what was in the paperwork.

Any comparison between a score of 120 now and a sibling's score of 119 several years ago is unlikely to be valid because the standardisation can vary from year to year.

I assume you've read the section about the ombudsman at the end of the Q&As.
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... nswers.php
To be honest, the chances of a successful complaint are very slim.

It might be a good idea to contact the appeals office and ask for a copy of the clerk's notes in return for the appropriate fee (£10?). The notes should at least give you the reasons why each panel member reached the decision he or she did.

Having got the notes, you can consider as calmly as possible (easier said than done, I know) whether there are indeed grounds for taking the matter any further. You can ask me, if you wish, for further advice, but just because you disagree with the panels' reasons, would not be grounds for a complaint. There has to be an indication that the panel did something wrong (e.g. failed to consider a piece of vital evidence).

Regards

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:20 pm 
I respect what you say but you yourself have said that different panels with the same evidence could make different decisions - how can this be fair??!!

I think panels should be larger and more teachers involved - yes it might be more intimidating for parents BUT it might be fairer.

If you live near a good Comprehensive or Upper it's not so bad - but not everyone in Buckinghamshire is that fortunate. The results for some Upper schools for their most able mean that a poor Appeal decision afftects life-chances in an unacceptable way.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:29 pm 
Thankyou for your advice Etienne. One member of the panel did go on about the rankings quite a lot as 16 pupils were given 1's, i.e expected to get 131 - 141,but only 6 achieved this and 6 others got 121-130.The 4 that didn't pass despite a 1 rating, got 118,119,120,120. Since then the 119 and a 120 have had successful appeals as have 3 others with 2 as a ranking. Even if the panel member thought the rankings inaccurate,it doesn't follow through that they weren't expected to pass, so some 1's should have been 2's, thats all.
One panel member also asked a lot of questions about the fact that our daughter was ill before the testing period and missed a practice paper and then was not quite right at the time of the tests, she was tearful and nervous and felt sick(through nerves we think).The panel member wondered why she was like this just for the 11+ and not other tests, i don't know what she was getting at, but it didn't make any difference in their eyes to my daughters performance.
We will let you know what happens next, has anyone had a successful result against an unsuccessful appeal decision?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:39 pm 
Beware of sweeping statements... You seem to be suggesting that the same panel members hear all appeals (for Bucks I understand that to be nearly 1,00 for selection alone). If more panel members were to be on each appeal I doubt that you would get all the appeals heard in time for the allocation process.
Why are you suggesting the appeal system is unfair when in the courts, a different jury with the same evidence may also reach a different decision?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:59 pm 
Guest 7,

I know there are more appeals since 2004 when the 'review' stage was removed - I know several panels sit at once - have you been through an Appeal yourself?

Perhaps the training is not thorough enough?

Yes I know juries can reach different decisions - that is not fair either!

I would rather have a few more children in Grammar schools rather than the alternative - panels should give the benefit of doubt. I say this as someone who has taught in a Grammar school -


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Guest55 wrote:
I respect what you say but you yourself have said that different panels with the same evidence could make different decisions - how can this be fair??!!

Just to put things in context, I was writing with very borderline cases particularly in mind.

I have no doubt that the ombudsman would accept that different panels could reach different decisions about the same case (or, perhaps it would be better to say, two very similar cases), because in the real world complete consistency is impossible ....... there are so many variables, cases can be very complex, and the decisions very difficult (judging, for example, the extent to which extenuating circumstances affected a child).

Guest55 would like panels to give the benefit of the doubt, but in selection appeals that is precisely what they are not allowed to do.

Guest55 wrote:
I think panels should be larger and more teachers involved - yes it might be more intimidating for parents BUT it might be fairer.

The composition of panels is determined by the government. There has to be a balance of "lay" and "non-lay" members. No doubt there could be more teachers within the "non-lay" category - I'm sure if they volunteered their services they would be welcomed with open arms and given appropriate training. They would certainly get a better understanding of the appeals system. We had a report on the forum last year of a deputy head advising parents to get their child to write a personal letter to the appeal panel. This was bad advice. The panel would never know how much input the parents had had, but the assumption would be that parents had suggested, scrutinised and checked it! It would not be valid evidence and I do not think the panel could attach any weight to it. Judging from other posts on the forum, there are even headteachers who "could do better"!

There is already provision for panels larger than three members. Some authorities, including Bucks and Milton Keynes, used to have panels of 5, but seem to have abandoned them as unmanageable and time-consuming. In Bucks I don't believe there would be sufficient volunteers to complete 11+ appeals by the current 1st March deadline. Who in their right mind would want to spend all day working against the clock, wrestling with really difficult decisions, unpaid and unthanked? :D

Regarding the number of successful complaints, I've dug out some old figures for Bucks which might be of interest:
In 2003 there were 47 complaints to the ombudsman relating to all Buckinghamshire appeals. The outcomes were as follows:
Maladministration: 0
Local settlement: 8 (usually meaning the County Council decided to offer a re-hearing)
No maladministration: 34
Ombudsman’s discretion: 5 (meaning the complaint was not worth pursuing)

The figures for 2004 were
Complaints: 29
Maladministration: 0
Local settlement: 8 (meaning the County Council decided to offer a re-hearing)
No maladministration: 16
Ombudsman’s discretion: 5 (meaning the complaint was not worth pursuing)

The total number of appeals was higher in 2005, but I don't believe that the number of successful complaints was more than proportionately higher.

If I discover any more recent figures, I'll post them.

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi CP

I am very sorry indeed to hear of you result. I seems very unfair to me, although I agree with Etienne that the 116 may have been a negative influence.

Do get the case notes from Admissions, and look at the comments. If there are grounds for maladministration, come back to us.

I am interested by Etienne's comment:

Quote:
Who in their right mind would want to spend all day working against the clock, wrestling with really difficult decisions, unpaid and unthanked?


I have just posted elsewhere that I am determined to be one of those people just as soon as I can. I believe that I will have to wait a couple of years until my youngest child is through the 11+, but it is one way in which I can be on the inside of this process and do all I can at a personal level to ensure fairness in the system.

Sally-Anne


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