This is the case that the Grammar Schools are submitting to the IAPs to try to prove that the Selection Review process was "Fair, Consistent & Objective".
+++++++++++++++++++Explanation of Selection Review Process for Admission Appeal Panel[child's name] **/07/02 [child's school]Summary
The Selection Review Process has been designed to comply with paragraph 3.13 of the Admission Appeals Code which states:'3.13b) 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 3.13a) above'
The following explanation demonstrates the care with which the Review Panel process was created and provides sufficient evidence to show that that the decisions of the Selection Review Panel are 'fair, consistent and objective'.
Buckinghamshire grammar schools developed the process in conjunction with the Local Authority and primary school headteachers during 2012. The agreed process was administered on behalf of the grammar schools by the LA acting as the '11+ Testing Administrator'. At the core of the process is a decision, based on written academic evidence and any extenuating circumstances, made by a panel of three experienced headteachers with clear understanding of the academic requirements of grammar schools. The decision was recorded by an independent clerk and observed by an independent moderator.There is no requirement set out in the Code that a local review process should replicate or replace the independent appeal process as there is still a right of appeal remaining.Paperwork provided to the panel
On receipt of the Verbal Reasoning Test decision, parents were provided with information to enable them to compile a written case in support of their child. Parents completed a request form and asked their child's primary headteacher to provide some standard information.
The following is an extract from the handbook provided to primary headteachers regarding key information that the panels require in order to make a decision:
Children on the same scores may have different review outcomes and this will be as a result of the weight of information provided. Invariably, successful cases have strong primary headteacher support and there are often significant factors that mean the child will not have been able to perform to the required level. However, it is important to remember that each case is decided upon its own merits. The SRP will normally expect there to be strong evidence of both high academic ability and exceptional reasons for underperformance in the tests.
- Key Stage 1 information should be included if there is concern that recent performance has dropped due to social/medical reasons.
- Key Stage 2 performance to date and predicted final outcomes
- Other professional evidence could be included (medical/social/other educational evidence)
- Parents were asked to evidence the ill health of a child at the time of testing. Also, to evidence parental illness, and to provide evidence from their employer/senior officer to explain lengthy absences such as parent serving in armed forces abroad in combat zone. Additionally, evidence of exceptional circumstances in the lead up to the tests was invited e.g. significant issues such as evidence of house move, death of close family member.
- The Selection Review Panel did not consider school work and, if it was provided it did not influence their decision making.
They were also advised the following in reference to completing the Selection Review Summary Sheet for Headteachers.
Compilation of the Selection Review Panel (SRP)
- Predicted SATs need to be realistic in the light of the strength of your recommendation and your school's historic SATs results.
- When quoting any test batteries such as CATS all results should be included, please do not quote partial or selected elements only.
- Extenuating circumstances can be referred to at question 6.
- Be aware that your choice of language on the form is important as it will indicate the degree of support you are expressing.
Each SRP consisted of three serving headteachers - two secondary headteachers and one primary headteacher. The headteachers sitting on any panel where taken from the pool of 15 primary headteachers and 13 grammar headteachers. They sat on 20 occasions. The panel members were advised that there was no limit or quota to the number of children they may qualify.
Declarations or interest forms were completed and collected in advance from panel members (including moderators and clerks) and this information was used to ensure that headteachers did not consider any cases where they had knowledge of the child or a link to the primary school. Information about a family's secondary school preferences was not provided to the SRP.
In all cases the paperwork was available to the panel members seven days in advance of the meeting. Prior to the meeting the panel pre-read and individually formulated a provisional initial decision. Panel members report that they spent on average five hours preparation in advance of each meeting.Training
All the panel members have been trained and the training focussed on:
1) The attributes needed to perform well when starting in a grammar school (supported by Y7 grammar staff),
2) Key Stage 1 and 2 performance data, availability, recording and expectations (supported by primary headteachers),
3) Issues surrounding disability awareness (supported by an Educational Psychologist)
4) Discussion regarding exceptional reasons, their relative impact, the importance of establishing timeframes and seeking third party confirming evidence
5) Discussion and example casesProcess of considering cases
Parents had 14 days to request a review. Cases were allocated to panels in no particular order or category except for cases previously considered by the Special Access Panel (panel that sits prior to the tests to consider any special adjustments to the test materials or conditions). These were allocated to a panel which was supported by an educational psychologist who had no vote, and whose role was to provide professional information to the panel members. This panel also considered other cases where an educational psychologist's report had been submitted as evidence. Where the case has already been considered by the Special Access Panel then the paperwork from this panel was provided to the SRP, including the pro forma used to record the Special Access Panel's decision.
The paperwork compiled for each child comprised:
a) A sheet which set out key information about the child (e.g. test dates, test scores, school attended)
b) The parent's submission including the primary headteacher's report (where the parents chose to submit it)
c) Summary data of the pupils at that school (available for LA and partner schools)
d) A bar chart to show the overall score distribution achieved by the whole cohort
The case papers considered by the Selection Review Panel are attached as Appendix 1.Clerking
The panel meetings were clerked by committee clerks from the council's Legal and Democratic Services Team. They were required to record the panel's decision for each child and to note any specific reasons the panel gave in coming to their decision. Where there was an application that cited disability, the panel worked through the disability decision-making process and recorded the outcome of that deliberation. Following the panel meeting the clerks transposed their hand written notes onto a composite spreadsheet and identified any specific text to be incorporated into the decision letter. Once this process was complete, in line with council clerking policies, they then destroyed the hand written notes.Moderation
Each panel meeting was attended by a 'moderator' who supported the panel in coming to their decision through questioning and identified a small number of cases to be considered within the moderation meeting. The moderators were retired Buckinghamshire primary headteachers. The panel members were also able to request moderation for any case they felt needed further scrutiny.
To gain an overview of the consistency of decisions a moderation meeting was held which was attended by all moderators together with a selection review panel. They reviewed a selection of cases - for example, cases VRTS 120 or 119 not qualified, low scores and qualified, or cases identified in the paragraph above. In a small number of cases the moderation panel overturned a decision. Once they had completed consideration of the cases the moderation panel confirmed that overall there had been consistent decision-making between panels and that decisions were 'fair, consistent and objective'.
Parents were advised of the outcome of their review in writing. The outcome letter for each child is attached as Appendix 2. A standard explanation was extended if the panel wished particular comments to be recorded.
Appendix 3 is a copy of the clerk's notes.Data as at 13 February 2013
(Further cases may still be heard where child has tested late)
% agreed of casesConclusionThe Selection Review Panel Process was 'fair, consistent and objective' in coming to the decision that there was insufficient evidence to deem [child's name] qualified for a grammar school education.
Agreed TOTAL CASES heard by review panel
at review HEARD (same score)
100-108 0 50 0.00%
109 1 16 6.25%
110 1 28 3.57%
111 1 30 3.33%
112 4 44 9.09%
113 4 42 9.52%
114 5 53 9.43%
115 3 73 4.11%
116 12 82 14.63%
117 26 114 22.81%
118 38 90 42.22%
119 54 118 45.76%
120 72 119 60.50%
Grand Total 221 859 25.73%
[Name of Head teacher and address of school]
Debbie Munday, Admissions and Transport Manager, Buckinghamshire County CouncilAppendices
Appendix 1: Selection Review Paperwork
Appendix 2: Selection Review Decision Letter
Appendix 3: Clerks Notes