Surely as a panel member, you would take each case in it's own merits, and not consider what went before you an hour earlier?
Would you not say to yourselves 'could this bullying of contributed to this child very narrowly missing a pass mark?' - then added together with other circumstances put before you, if the answer was 'Yes, this is likely', then surely the appeal should be deemed successful?
If you put through 6 or 46, that is surely not a matter for the panel?
No. We have to balance the needs of the children who passed the exam with those whose appeals we are hearing.
The way it is done is:
1) we hear the school / LEA case (which is either that the child did not reach the necessary standard, or they did pass, but the school is full).
2) We hear the parents side of the appeal.
3) We decide if the case is strong enough to allow in principle.
4) We balance the needs of the pupils in the school with those of the pupils appealing. For instance, we might know that there is physical space for 32 children in each classroom, but the LEA has only allocated 30 places. We could
then allow up to 2 appeals per class. Say the school has an intake of 150, then we could allow 10 appeals.
We have on occasion allowed a couple more, in the hopes that some people holding on to places are appealing for a different school. We have also allowed less than 10 when we've had appeals where the children were not bright enough, even though they had good reasons for not doing well on the day - it's not fair on the rest of the school to pull the average class ability down. In the latter case, I think that the school may then allow some children on the waiting list in, as long as they passed the exam, to make up 32 per class.
But say there were 25 appeals, 20 were worthy. It would be unfair on the children in the school to force an extra 4 pupils per class.
In other words, we're juggling your appeal, the other children and the admission authority / school.
Many of the appeals seem to have lots of irrelevant items in the docs - we're not interested in the fact that the parents want a single sex school, that they want a school with good discipline, their child is the national football, knitting or music team. We also get many reasons the child didn't do well. So an arm broken the day before the exam could be a major reason for not doing well, 1 month before might still be causing pain during the exam but on broken 6 months before hand would be of little influence on the day (but I've seen that as the basis of an appeal) - unless we had strong medical evidence to prove that it was such a complex break that he was still on painkillers at that time.
If you'd come up before us, I would expect to hear why your child was suffering on the day, why the exam results differed from the scores you give, a letter from the school regarding the bullying and how it affected work in the classroom and under stress, and possibly a note from a GP / child phychologist, for if your child is still affected by the bullying, you'll probably have at least spoken to your GP about it - and if they said that you first saw them during the bullying / 6 months / 3 months before the exam, all the better (not 1 week after the exam, or just before the appeal).
We do get some harrowing cases. We have to be able to see that they are exceptional.
Finally, what people forget, is that probably quite a few of the children who did pass also had problems around the exam - some probably had parents splitting up, others felt ill. All felt nervous! Yet they passed.