Hi, wanted to share our good news with everyone and anyone - our apeal was successful.
I spent yesterday celebrating and have recovered sufficiently now to record a few thoughts in case they can help anyone else. As it happens I have had an easy time since knowing the score of 120. Both the teacher and the head were very reassuring and seemed to imply that a grammar school place was almost in the bag. They wrote a very strong letter of support, placing my child in the top 25% for both maths and English, and agreed with my explanation about mitigating circumstances. They also predicted level 5 SATs. Consequently, I made the (sometimes) fatal error of being complacent.
I paid little attention to his rather weak CAT VR scores of 118 for year 5 and year 4. I did not really engage with the complexities of the OoS, on which he was placed 33rd out of 35 and I opted to take a very small sample of work with me because of the limitations of it needing to be A4, marked, AND showing significant ability. I found it hard to find examples that satisfied all three demands. Worse, he was initially recorded as a 3,2 but this was revised to a 2,2. As if all that were not bad enough, his other score for THE TEST was 111! Then came the hard part. We went into the appeal and the panel were very kind and patient. I launched into my my case and addressed 'why your child did not achieve the qualifying score in the 11+ verbal reasoning tests' which is point no. 3 in the 'Order of Business' issued to appellants. It does not suggest that you make a case demonstrating your child's academic ability so unfortunately, this meant that I spent hardly any time referring to his high academic ability. The panel probed hard into everything! We were asked to explain his position on the OoS, the disparity between his scores, his weak CAT VR results...it seemed never ending. We were also asked about whether the school streamed the children for English and Maths - I didn't know. I was able to provide a convincing case for mitigating circumstances and the headteacher agreed with me. Unfortunately, it occurred to me after my appeal that the panel only had my word for it. It was impossible to provide external verification. By the time I came out I realised all too clearly my mistake. I was going to be in the minority of cases who manage to be unsuccessful at 120! I came home and found this site in a belated attempt at reassurance. What an excellent site...I can't praise it enough. The advice is absolutely fantastic and so, so supportive. But I found very little to encourage me. So many people were mounting such well-researched campaigns. My world fell apart. I was so despondent. I felt as though I had thrown away some very good points by being arrogant/lazy/busy? I had let my son down and we had come so close. For three days and nights I could think of nothing else. Our appeal was on Wednesday and we received the letter on Saturday. Hidden half way down a page of small print was the line that our appeal had been successful but my eyes has blurred with emotion and anticipation of bad news by then. How could we have been successful? I have given a lot of thought to this. I think we were very lucky with our panel, but I agree with advice I have read on this site; they genuinely were trying to help. Even though I rambled, unprepared, they asked the relevant questions and elicited the information in spite of me. All that probing was to enable me to give them the information to allow our appeal to succeed. My experience proves without any doubt that it is not only the cleverly presented cases that can get results. I think the panel can have been in no doubt that I was telling the truth because quite often they saw me formulating a response as though it was the first time I had thought about it (which in some cases it was!) I think the questions about streaming the children was an attempt to gauge whether the placing in the top 25% was fair - after all children in the lower set must surely be in the next 25% or even lower. Perhaps it is worth making sure that at no time do the panel feel that they are being manipulated. So. all's well that ends well. But I have had a small taste of the worry and anxiety that many of you have been going through for weeks and some of you still are. I wish you much support and strength and will be wishing the best results for you. Very good luck! from Lynsey