At any rate I think we shouldn't be so quick to cast aspersions on their integrity.
I agree, and I hope we don't give that impression on here.
However, the aim of the forum is to help parents with appeals, and we would be failing if we didn't explain that an appeal panel might
not give weight to letters of support from private tutors.
Personally I don't think the issue of tutoring is going to be critical at an appeal. I don’t believe that panel members – whatever private views they may have – would actually take tutoring into account when making their decision. I certainly never heard a single appeal where it was a factor.
Some parents do go out of their way to provide references from tutors, or to volunteer the information “We paid for him/her to be tutored for 2 years!
”, presumably confident that it will show an appeal panel what good parents they are, and how committed they are to the 11+.
Although it may not in reality harm their case, I don't believe it does anything to assist it! (What about the child who lacks that sort of support - should that child be disadvantaged at appeal?)
In my view it would be best to say nothing about tutoring unless asked. And, if asked, Sally-Anne has suggested a very reasonable answer which would fit the majority of cases: “Yes, our child was tutored. We were very conscious that everyone around us was buying into tutoring and we felt under pressure not to place our child at a disadvantage.
Incidentally, I would agree that not all headteacher references are perfect! - but headteachers have the sort of status that comes with belonging to a regulated profession. The same applies to educational psychologists who sometimes prepare reports for appeals. Chartered EPs are regulated, with accreditation through the British Psychological Society, and there is now a requirement that they are also registered with the Health Professions Council.