We've been to see our Headteacher who was also surprised that our son did not pass. She is willing to offer her full support as our son was ranked 5th out of 60, and the level of recommendation she has given is 1:1. On this basis, and his good SAT predictions, we are willing to try to appeal as we feel that our son would succeed at Grammar school.
Based on what you have written, I agree with you completely - the score of 115 is the only thing that suggests otherwise, and that is what an Appeal is for. The only questions I have are:
- what was his other score, or did he score 115 on both papers?
- is the Head's Order of Suitability usually quite reliable - did the great majority of those above and below him down to around No. 20 pass?
Our main concern is that we do not have any mitigating circumstances to explain why he did not achieve as we and the school had predicted. Personally we know that he was very anxious before the exams, and subequently has been suffering from headaches (especially leading up to getting the results). However, as we cannot "prove" that he was anxious, is it worth mentioning this point, or is it better to be honest and say that we can't explain why he did not do as well as anticipated?
I would go for the honest approach, as you have very strong supporting evidence. You are very likely to be asked at the Appeal if there was any reason he didn't perform on the day. I would reiterate that there were no specific factors, but say that obviously he was anxious to do well.
Both of us have strong academic backgrounds. Is it feasible to say that in hindsight our background may have put undue pressure on our son?
I wouldn't use this.
At first sight you have a very strong case on academic grounds, which is really why the Appeals process exists - to find the occasional child who, for whatever reason - didn't make it on the day, but has clearly got the ability to succeed in a GS. Sue is living proof that it can be the strongest sort of Appeal.