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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:12 am 
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I see in a previous post that a qu has been raised about whether extenuating circs can be used in an appeal under the new appeal code.

A quick reading of the Code suggests they should be used where appropriate. To be fair to other users of this forum I am only just beginning to read through the Code (and getting a sore head in the process!), so I give way to anybody else who has experience of it, but the Code says the appeal panel may be asked to consider why a parent believes that their child did not perform at their best on the day of the test (3.13). Obviously academic info (SATS) etc must form part of the case, but nowhere does the Code rule out other factors that are to do with how a child performs "on the day." Factors capable of affecting performance on the day must be relevant to whether a child really is of the right standard, provided that you can show they have done well before (SATs etc).

Isn't leaving all this detailed stuff out of the Code just so that the govt could claim that it had simplified the Code?

Hope this helps, but wld be happy to hear contrary views.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:00 pm 
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The previous code made explicit reference to extenuating circumstances ("any factors which appellants contend may have affected the child’s performance (e.g. illness, bereavement); whether the family made the admission authority aware of these before they sat the test ...."), whereas the new Code make no mention at all of extenuating circumstances.

To quote 3.13 of the new Code in full:
Quote:
3.13 An appeal panel may be asked to consider an appeal where the appellant believes that the child did not perform at their best on the day of the entrance test. In such cases:
a) where a local review process has not been applied, the panel must only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied:
i) that there is evidence to demonstrate that the child is of the required academic standards
, for example, school reports giving Year 5/Year 6 SAT results or a letter of support from their current or previous school clearly indicating why the child is considered to be of grammar school
ability; and
ii) where applicable, that the appellant’s arguments outweigh the admission authority’s case that admission of additional children would cause prejudice.

b) where a local review process has been followed, the panel must only consider whether each child’s review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way and if there is no evidence that this has been done, the panel must follow the process in paragraph 3.13(a) above.

"Where the appellant believes that the child did not perform at their best on the day of the entrance test" may or may not entail extenuating circumstances (quite often parents believe their child did not perform at their best, but haven't the slightest idea why) - but I agree it leaves the door open, and this is why we have given the advice that we have:
Quote:
Note that the new Code of Practice which came into force on 1st February 2012 makes no mention at all of extenuating circumstances. This is not necessarily to say that extenuating circumstances might not be discussed at a hearing, but they shouldn’t be the basis of an appeal. The main focus should always be on academic evidence.
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b10

No one has ruled out 'other factors', but it's important to have the right focus when putting forward a case. You could win an appeal with academic evidence but no extenuating circumstances - but not vice versa!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Thanks for your clarification. Obviously you are 100% + right in saying that you can't win a selection appeal without evidence of academic ability.

I think all that I was trying to add is that the fact that the new Code doesn't refer to something, doesn't automatically mean it is irrelevant. It seems as if somebody in the DfE was tasked simply with slimming the Code down, and this meant they had to cross a lot of bits out to get the new version short enough.

Of course, in some cases, bits of the old Code have been dropped because a genuine legal change was intended. However, in other cases, bits have been dropped simply as a "slimming exercise".

It would be big shame if panels do not appreciate this point, and are persuaded to think that the new Code is commanding them to ignore extenuating circs.

Thanks again for yr quick reply!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:08 pm 
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Quote:
the fact that the new Code doesn't refer to something, doesn't automatically mean it is irrelevant.
I don't think anyone is arguing this!

Quote:
It would be big shame if panels do not appreciate this point, and are persuaded to think that the new Code is commanding them to ignore extenuating circs.
I very much doubt this will be the case.

Quote:
Of course, in some cases, bits of the old Code have been dropped because a genuine legal change was intended. However, in other cases, bits have been dropped simply as a "slimming exercise".
I couldn't agree more!
No doubt some future Secretary of State will have the bright idea that what we really need is a more comprehensive Code. :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:56 pm 
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This is interesting. I have been looking at it the opposite way round really. If a panel is presented with very solid evidence that a child is of "grammar school ability" does the test result on the day really matter, and is the reason for why it might have been lower than expected on the day really of any interest or relevance (or even provable)? Is it of any importance at all to look at the test mark whether it be close the pass mark, or a mile from the pass mark, and consider "extenuating circumstances" in any shape or form?

From some examples of appeals this year, under this new code, cited on this website, it would appear that some panel members are fixated on extenuating circumstances and asking parents to justify why children do as well as they might have done on the day. This worries me.

Am I interpreting the new Code incorrectly Etienne, or are some panel members more interested in musing about why a child did not do as well as they might on the day rather than assessing the academic evidence placed before them?

What can we do? I will be frustrated if my children blip on the day, if they are indeed of high ability and I have evidence of this, and a panel dimisses my appeal because I don't have some "reason" or other that they didn't do well enough in the test on the day.

Also every standardised test score has a confidence interval e.g. "score is 132, we can with 95% confidence say the score lies between 128 and 136" (sorry I invented that particular confidence interval). Are appeals panels given this kind of info too?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:42 pm 
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Quote:
This is interesting. I have been looking at it the opposite way round really. If a panel is presented with very solid evidence that a child is of "grammar school ability" does the test result on the day really matter
I think it's legitimate for the panel to take into account all of the evidence available to them (and the 11+ results will be part of that).

I know what the weaknesses of the 11+ are - but there may be weaknesses in the alternative evidence too!
For example, headteacher recommendations can be very inconsistent.
SATs levels may possibly tell us more about the ethos of the school, the quality of teaching, and the motivation of the child than about innate ability.
There can also be a subjective element in 'working at' levels.
Confidence intervals apply to CATs and to EP reports.

Quote:
and is the reason for why it might have been lower than expected on the day really of any interest or relevance (or even provable)? Is it of any importance at all to look at the test mark whether it be close the pass mark, or a mile from the pass mark, and consider "extenuating circumstances" in any shape or form?
If the child is as bright as the panel are being told, it may not be unreasonable to probe whether there were any circumstances that might have affected performance 'on the day'. This could help strengthen the parental case.

Quote:
From some examples of appeals this year, under this new code, cited on this website, it would appear that some panel members are fixated on extenuating circumstances and asking parents to justify why children do as well as they might have done on the day. This worries me.
I agree that panels shouldn't be 'fixated' on this. It seems to me that the new Code has the balance right - what really matters is the academic evidence, but the consideration of extenuating circumstances isn't necessarily excluded.

Quote:
What can we do? I will be frustrated if my children blip on the day, if they are indeed of high ability and I have evidence of this, and a panel dimisses my appeal because I don't have some "reason" or other that they didn't do well enough in the test on the day.
I hope this isn't happening (not under the new Code, anyway). It would disturb me if a panel was convinced by the academic evidence, but refused an appeal because there was no satisfactory 'reason' for underperformance. Not sure I've actually heard of any cases where this has occurred.
Quote:
Also every standardised test score has a confidence interval e.g. "score is 132, we can with 95% confidence say the score lies between 128 and 136" (sorry I invented that particular confidence interval). Are appeals panels given this kind of info too?
I doubt it. More experienced panel members are likely to be aware (in which case, though, they will know enough to treat some of the alternative evidence with equal caution!).

My two pence worth ....... :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Quote:
I hope this isn't happening (not under the new Code, anyway). It would disturb me if a panel was convinced by the academic evidence, but refused an appeal because there was no satisfactory 'reason' for underperformance. Not sure I've actually heard of any cases where this has occurred.
Sorry to butt in on this but wasn't there one recently on this very forum - won't quote names just in case, but a regular poster - of a child who 'bombed' on the day and had plenty of evidence of high ability but no extenuating circumstances? I suppose the panel must not have been 'convinced'...but one does wonder why not.

I think the bottom line is that if a country/area persists with a selective education system, it is going to be flawed, whichever way round you play it and whatever safeguards you think you have put in place to ensure 'fairness'. But that is another debate and one I know you won't thank me for replaying here. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Thanks Etienne. I hope you are right and I'm jumping to sweeping and false conclusions on the basis of what a few people have said on here re. their experience of appeals at some West Kent schools. Some things some posters have said have made me feel (hopefully incorrectly) that there are some panels / panel members who seem to set a lot of store on the parents being able to explain a blip in performance on the day.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:28 am 
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What about if your dc reached the qualifying mark and is therefore of grammar ability, but only just reached it and is therefore likely not to get a place due to waiting lists? But, they are gifted and talented, working at level six sats but was taken out of a paper upset early and there are potential extenuating circumstances which you didn't mention before the exam for example because you didn't want to make a fuss and were hoping you wouldn't need to! Would an appeal focus on extenuating circumstances as the child who under performed on the day did reach the required standard but should've done much better?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:38 pm 
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This follows on from:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=34383

I would hesitate to say that the panel would 'focus on extenuating circumstances'. If the child is qualified and the school oversubscribed, the main issue for the panel would be to weigh up the parent's reasons for wanting a place against the prejudice to the school:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... ed-school/

It is, however, open to you to put forward whatever case you wish to bring to the panel's attention.
You could reasonably argue:
1. that he was expected to score more highly, in which case he would have gained a place. (Provide the academic evidence to prove he was indeed expected to do better.)
2. there were extenuating circumstances that explain the underperformance. (Provide the evidence.)
3. there are good reasons for wanting a place at this particular school.

- but make sure that your arguments are 'balanced'. You should have as much to say about point 3 as about point 2.

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