How very sad that performance on tests at age 6 or 7 can be used to write a child off
We don't believe that a child would ever be "written off" on the basis of KS1 tests. A panel may show some interest in a child's academic record as a whole, and in how that child has progressed - but Y5/6 is usually going to be infinitely more important than Y2. (We say "usually
" because there may sometimes be significant extenuating circumstances affecting Y5/6 in particular, in which case attention would be drawn to the period before Y5.)
But let's get back on topic .......
Is there anyone out there who can offer some advice about whether we have a case to take to the EFA about our recent academy grammar school admission appeal?
1. The Panel's decision letter omitted any reference to the evidence we gave to account for the shortfall in marks - this was a key part of our case and I had thought from the Appeals Code that it should have been addressed in the decision letter to show that it had been taken into account. This leaves me wondering whether they did take that part of our evidence into account or not - they certainly did not ask any questions about it at our hearing which was frustrating and with the benefit of hindsight I wish I had gone back and emphasised it.
Based on what you've told us, it seems quite possible the EFA would find there to have been a breach of para. 2.25 of the Appeals Code: "The panel must ensure that the decision is easily comprehensible so that the parties can understand the basis on which the decision was made. The decision letter must contain a summary of relevant factors that were raised by the parties and considered by the panel ......
However, on its own, this is unlikely to amount to a serious injustice, and the only action is likely to be that someone's knuckles get rapped for the quality of the decision letter.
The real issue is whether your main arguments were properly considered, and for that you should follow the advice of an earlier poster, and try to find out what (if anything) the clerk's notes reveal.http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman#d4
Be aware that, if the school resists making the notes available, the Information Commissioner is overloaded with various cases, and our previous experience is that it might possibly take a year or so for enforcement action to be taken!
In this situation it might be preferable to go ahead with a complaint to the EFA, and trust them to do the investigating. They will certainly get hold of a copy of the clerk's notes, although they are unlikely to share them with you, so the process will be less transparent.
2. The Panel's dismissal of our appeal seemed to focus on us having weak mitigating circumstances rather than any lack of evidence on academic ability. Leaving aside our concern at 1 above that they might have omitted to take account of part of our case, is this approach correct when the requirement for panels to take account of mitigating circumstances was deleted from the Appeals Code in 2012? I thought the tests in the code were about ability and prejudice only.
It might be worth querying this, but the absence of extenuating circumstances from the Appeals Code isn't quite the same thing as a prohibition.
The key issue is whether the clerk's notes show that the panel did
give proper consideration to the case you put forward.