Just wanted to share our appeal experience and most importantly the outcome.
I posted here last week and thanks to all of you that read my posts and replied. If it wasn't for you and this site I don't think that we would have got very far!
Our DD got 120 & 114 OOS 8 out of 10 and 3 recommendation & 2 for attitude etc. She goes to an independent school and we speak Polish at home although born here. She also had familiarisation practice and her scores went from 67% to 100%. Predicted level 5 SATs and top 25% for English & Maths.
We arrived at County Hall on Thursday 17th and were asked to sit in reception with a number of other parents. We were eventually collected by the Clerk 45 minutes after our scheduled appointment and an explanation given in that one of the panel members was unwell and they had to get in a replacement. The Clerk was a Barrister ans she explained her role in the proceedings. We were met by the LEA rep & shown into a room where 3 people were sitting behind a big table. Each panel member introduced themselves (1 was a retired school governor, 1 a retired deputy head and 1 who had no interest in education and just sat on the panel as it gave her something to do with her time!)
I took the panel through my DD's end of year report (which was submitted as evidence at the time of lodging the appeal & highlighted her scores in Maths, Science & English. I then presented to the panel her Winter term report card again highlighting Maths, Science & English. Also a letter from her Polish school headmistress and I mentioned some of the comments from her form teacher. My husband presented the mitigating circumstances in the form of a letter from an Optician confirming that DD had issues with her sight and also that the OOS ranking did not reflect DD's scores. We also talked about her interests outside of school and the fact that she is Junior House Captain.
One of the panel members picked up on this & grilled me on whether we had taken it up with the school and I said yes although the school said they couldn't do much about it. Another asked what books DD reads as she had a reading age of 14.2-she is 10.6 years. One member asked if she had fininshed both of the papers (yes), also how did she feel it went (I said one paper suited her better that the other), and was DD with class mates when sitting the tests.
The LEA rep also pointed out about the ranking almost as if he was supporting our case.
We and the panel summed up and we left the room while the panel looked through DD's exercise books-Maths, Science, English, History & Geography. We left County Hall comfortable that we had put forward a reasonable case despite the grilling about the OOS.
On Saturday we received the letter from County Hall and to our relief at the end of the second paragrah that the appeal had been succesful! I read it first and then I gave it to my husband to read to make sure that I had read it correctly! My DD is going to grammar school-she is also over the moon!
My advice is to prepare and talk to your child about it as they may give you an insight on why they may have done as well as expected. Prepare a case and use notes if appropriate. The panel were very pleasant and put us at ease and do have the child's interest at heart as some of them have lots of experience of the very system that we want our children to go through and must have seen and experienced kids who can't cope with grammar school.
Good luck to those of you waiting to go through an appeal. Thanks again to the wonderful people here and let's hope that you are still here for my DS's in 7 & 9 years time when they sit the 11+!