Thanks Etienne, I really appreciate your response,
We have two very good local GS's - are we able to disregard our initial choices and say that we are happy to accept a place at whichever school has a place for him?
In the past, (1) if you were a Bucks resident, and (2) your child was qualified either via the 11+ or via an appeal, and (3) you were unable to get a place at one of your GS preferences, the LA used to offer a place at another GS with a vacancy. Not sure whether this will still be the case under the new system.
Another possibility would be for you to change just one of your GS preferences to make sure it includes a GS that is usually undersubscribed. (Chesham, for example, is a good grammar school that has previously been undersubscribed in year 7, but I don't know how far away you are.)
Any change of preference would take effect after the first round of allocations. You would need to ensure that you registered a change of preference before the summer term appeals.
As an outsider (currently marvelling open-jawed at the number of appeals going on in Bucks...brave Etienne and Sally-Anne for taking all this on) the thing which jumps up at me here is, are head teachers entitled to voice in this context any opinion whatsoever on what is essentially a personality issue? It looks like very dodgy territory indeed - oh little Johnny is a bit shy/loud/choose your own adjective, and therefore he 'might not cope with grammar school'. It is a big leap, isn't it? I thought that all this head teacher involvement was meant to be a comment on intellectual aptitude, not whether a child exhibited stress at coming to school.
Thanks for a very interesting observation, Amber.
I certainly agree that this shouldn't affect any judgement about 'academic potential'.
Bucks then has a separate category:
Attitude to work
1 = Self-starter. Independent worker. Consistent. Highly motivated.
2 = Hard working. Reliable.
3 = Output varies
4 = Lacks self organisation. Requires support
I can see that, in assessing motivation etc., the head could get drawn into 'justifying' her judgement, and move on to risky ground. It would depend how any written comments were worded.