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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Hi,

We were recently unsuccessful in our Review Application. My son got 115 in both tests, but was recommended 2 / 2 by the Headteacher with strong supporting comments about him being “gifted and talented”, a reading age of 13 years 6 months and workling already at Level 5’s English and Maths . We also had an EP report who placed him in the top 6% / 9% in the country. In addition we had very strong extenuating circumstances (albeit this is always subjective).

Having got what almost seems to be a pre-prepared letter of rejection back signed off “on behalf of the 13 Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools” I am concerned about the independence of Headteachers, who probably struggling with budget's don’t really want to pass anymore than they have to. I was hoping for an “independent review”

Can we now ask for our application to be heard by the “Independent Review Panel” and if so will the panel be told that our application was rejected by the ‘Headteachers Review”

I have asked for some information about the review process and some statistical data concerning numbers who were successful or not


PS Well done for providing this wonderful platform of support


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:08 pm 
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MCB wrote:
I am concerned about the independence of Headteachers, who probably struggling with budget's don’t really want to pass anymore than they have to.
On the other hand, they will want to fill the available places (for financial reasons) - and, if too many children qualify for a particular school, the admission rules would restrict the number allocated.

There may, however, be issues about who heard which cases, and whether cases were anonymised.

Quote:
I was hoping for an “independent review”
From a technical point of view, I don't think it was ever claimed to be independent.
To quote what we've written here:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b18
"A review is an internal admission authority procedure, and arguably not independent"
It is certainly not independent in the way that a statutory appeal panel is.

Quote:
Can we now ask for our application to be heard by the “Independent Review Panel”
If you mean an 'Independent Appeal Panel', the answer is 'Yes'. However, your case will only be taken into account if the appeal panel decides that the review that has already taken place was not fair, consistent and objective.

Quote:
and if so will the panel be told that our application was rejected by the ‘Headteachers Review”
Yes, because unlike Kent (another big selective authority), the grammar schools here have chosen to try and argue that there has already been a fair, consistent and objective review. They didn't have to do this, but they are legally entitled to, and so an appeal panel will have to consider whether the review process was indeed fair, consistent and objective. Both the panel and parents will be able to question a representative of the admission authority. My guess is that there could be a lot of wrangling!

Quote:
PS Well done for providing this wonderful platform of support
:D

For what it's worth, my advice is to prepare for an appeal, and see what happens.
To help prepare, see:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b11
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c2

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:10 pm 
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Hi

Thanks for your advice

Having had a 'Selection Review' which was unsuccessful, it now seems as if the focus has changed from proving to the 'Independent Appeal Panel' that out son has the academic ability suited to a grammar school and 'exceptional circumstances' preventing him from performing during the process to proving that the 'Selection Review' was not fair or consistent. A task made almost impossible by the fact that (according to other articles on your website) the LA are unlikely to release full details or documents produced during that review.

It seems as if we have had our 'Review' and in my view the likelihood of getting the 'Independent Review Panel' to the reverse the decision already made, without overwhelming evidence (which the LA would need to provide) is almost nil.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:35 pm 
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MCB wrote:
it now seems as if the focus has changed ....... to proving that the 'Selection Review' was not fair or consistent.
Not quite! Parents will of course be free to ask questions and to challenge the process, but it is for the admission authority to prove its case, rather than for you to disprove it.

The onus will be on the admission authority to provide the evidence - and to satisfy the panel - that the review process was (a) fair, (b) consistent, (c) objective.

Quote:
A task made almost impossible by the fact that (according to other articles on your website) the LA are unlikely to release full details or documents produced during that review.
If relevant information is withheld, they run the risk of not satisfying the panel!

Could you tell me which articles you're referring to?

Quote:
in my view the likelihood of getting the 'Independent Review Panel' to the reverse the decision already made, without overwhelming evidence (which the LA would need to provide) is almost nil.
I don't believe that a requirement for 'overwhelming evidence' would be lawful.

There's no way of knowing what decisions will be made - but appeal panels set up by BCC Legal & Democratic Services have been noted for their 'independence'!

My guess is that different panels could well reach different conclusions, depending on how questions posed by panel members and individual parents are answered.

Appeals have always tended to be unpredictable .......

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:07 am 
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Looking at the finer detail.

Can you confirm if the LA have to prove the 'Process' of the Selection Review was undertaken in a fair and consistent manner or that the 'outcome' was fair and consistent.

If the LA have to prove the process was fair and consistent, then without some evidence to the contrary (which will need to be provided by the LA) this will be very hard / almost impossible to establish.

If the Independent review panel are being asked to decide if the 'outcome' was fair and consistent then they should be reviewing, in detail each case on its merits and asking if against the criteria the 'outcome' was fair and consistent.

If it focus's only on the 'Process' then they may elect to not to even hear the evidence relating to 'Academic Ability' or 'Extenuating Circumstances'

Can you confirm the role the 'Independent Review' panel ?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:02 am 
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MCB wrote:
Can you confirm if the LA have to prove the 'Process' of the Selection Review was undertaken in a fair and consistent manner or that the 'outcome' was fair and consistent.
To be accurate, there are three tests (fair, consistent and objective), not two.

According to the Code:
    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."

Quote:
If the LA have to prove the process was fair and consistent, then without some evidence to the contrary (which will need to be provided by the LA) this will be very hard / almost impossible to establish.
The issue is whether the admission authority's case will stand up to scrutiny. No one can say whether any particular panel will be satisfied with the evidence presented in relation to each of the three tests. If I've learned one thing about appeals, it's that they are usually unpredictable.

Quote:
If it focus's only on the 'Process' then they may elect to not to even hear the evidence relating to 'Academic Ability' or 'Extenuating Circumstances'
Yes - if they accept that the review process was fair, consistent and objective.

Quote:
Can you confirm the role the 'Independent Review' panel ?
There's no such body as far as school admissions are concerned!
Suggest you read the SAAC - School Admissions Appeals Code - to find out about the role of an IAP (Independent Appeal Panel):
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a4

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:49 am 
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Hi thanks for your reply.

So drilling down further.

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.

" Assuming that the local authority abided by the guidelines, in the absence of them disclosing that something prejudicial (to heir own case) occurred during the process or they failed to follow some procedural element in reality, it will be almost impossible to prove this point. How can this be just. What if the 'outcome' was unfair.

Based on the extensive evidence we have (and presented to the 'Selection Review') we genuinely believe the outcome is unjust and unfair. It has already impacting negatively on a very bright and academically minded young boy who in all 'fairness' should now be looking forward to starting at a Grammar School

It would seem that the opportunity for us to prove that our son is suitable for a grammar school has been and gone and that we should have waited to present our case in person, where we would have had an open and transparent opportunity of being satisfied our sons case was clearly understood and fairly considered.

I have asked for some statistics from the LA, but feedback I am getting from other people who entered the process suggests the only people who seem to have got through are those that only just missed the mark and not those who performed badly during the process, but who are (as in my sons case) more than academically suited to a grammar school education.

Regards MCB


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:06 pm 
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MCB wrote:
Assuming that the local authority abided by the guidelines, in the absence of them disclosing that something prejudicial (to heir own case) occurred during the process or they failed to follow some procedural element in reality, it will be almost impossible to prove this point.
We're going over the same ground! - I've already made clear that I don't subscribe to the 'It's impossible' theory. If defeatism spreads, no one is going to want to appeal (which may be exactly what some might be hoping for!).

Independent appeal panels in other parts of the country (at a number of schools in Medway, for example) have previously found against the admission authority at the fair, consistent, & objective stage, so it's possible.

Quote:
What if the 'outcome' was unfair.
And what if someone thought the outcome of an independent appeal was unfair? In that situation there's an opportunity to complain to the ombudsman or the EFA as appropriate - but see D3 (ii): http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman#d3
I think a judicial review would take much the same approach.
Which brings us back to process!

Quote:
Based on the extensive evidence we have (and presented to the 'Selection Review') we genuinely believe the outcome is unjust and unfair. It has already impacting negatively on a very bright and academically minded young boy who in all 'fairness' should now be looking forward to starting at a Grammar School
I do understand and sympathise.

Quote:
It would seem that the opportunity for us to prove that our son is suitable for a grammar school has been and gone and that we should have waited to present our case in person, where we would have had an open and transparent opportunity of being satisfied our sons case was clearly understood and fairly considered.
Elsewhere on the forum Sally-Anne and I have made very clear our concerns about the new system!
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=25270
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=29356
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=29733

Quote:
I have asked for some statistics from the LA, but feedback I am getting from other people who entered the process suggests the only people who seem to have got through are those that only just missed the mark and not those who performed badly during the process, but who are (as in my sons case) more than academically suited to a grammar school education.
In my view one of the risks of a quick desk-based review is that it might lead to this situation. It will be interesting to see what the figures show, when they become available.

If you believe your son should be at grammar school, don't give up - even though there may be three hurdles to overcome:

    1. 'Fair, consistent, & objective' - we'll suggest some possible approaches nearer the time, but I wouldn't expend too much energy on this. You're not the one 'on trial' at this point, and any appeal panel worth its salt will take the initiative.

    2. Qualification - even though this is a secondary hurdle, it's a major one - especially with a less than borderline score. Under this process it's cruel not to know in advance whether your case will be taken into account, but I think this is what you must focus on. You should prepare the very best case you can. Read everything to do with selection in section B of the Q&As:
    http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... lification
    and in parts of section E:
    http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/miscellaneous

    3. Reasons for preference - this may or may not be necessary (but best to be prepared).
    See section C:
    http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... bed-school

You can appeal for each grammar school on your CAF, so there will be more than once chance.

This is the way forward!

Edited to add -

See:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=30702&p=362028#p362028

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:03 pm 
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Etienne, can I just say that you are as always a fountain of knowledge! I am keen to hear of those successful on lower scores as I haven't heard of any.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:25 pm 
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I suggest we keep this topic for any discussion about MCB's own case.

Fully understand the interest in what scores might be needed for a successful review. This can have a thread of its own which can now be found here:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=30734

I have tried to separate out posts as appropriate.

I note that several posters have been using 'review' and 'appeal' as if they are interchangeable terms. Please try to avoid this mistake, otherwise it could lead to confusion! :shock:

Thank you! :)

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