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Start here - Essential Reading

Post by Etienne »

Welcome to Appeals! :)

1. Have you read the Q&As?" onclick=";return false;
You will find answers to questions you haven't even thought of yet!

2. Have you read the posting guidelines?
For example:
(a) Please do not send unsolicited PMs asking for help - we do not have enough time to reply to them. Our aim is to help as many people as possible via the forum.
(b) Please don't start multiple threads about your own case - it helps us to have all your appeal questions in one place. We never know how a particular case is going to develop. Sometimes we are asked to advise on cases that have gone to the DfE or ombudsman, and they can drag on for ages (two years of argument in one extreme instance). Ploughing through 10, 20, 30 or more different threads, searching for all the relevant facts, is not a sensible use of our time.
(c) Please don't hijack someone else's topic to discuss your own case.
(d) Having started your own thread on Appeals, kindly keep to it!
(e) Use a generic title such as "Joe Smith's appeal (Kent)" or "Freda Brown's review (Bucks)", then you can add new questions to it whenever the need arises.

See section 6 below for a complete list of guidelines.

3. Common questions on the Appeals forum:
  • (a) Just received 11+ results. Can I appeal now, or do I have to wait until March? ... cation#b51" onclick=";return false;

    (b) What are my chances at appeal?" onclick=";return false;

    (c) How can I find out about the previous success rate of appeals?" onclick=";return false;

    (d) What academic evidence might I need? ... cation#b11" onclick=";return false;

    (e) What about extenuating circumstances? ... cation#b10" onclick=";return false;

    (f) If our child is ‘unqualified’ when we fill in the CAF, how does this affect which schools we put on the form? ... aneous#e35" onclick=";return false;

    (g) Can you help with a letter of appeal (addressing the issues of non-qualification and oversubscription)?" onclick=";return false;

    (h) The 11+ score doesn’t seem right. Can I ask to see the papers? Can I request a remark? ... cation#b55" onclick=";return false;

    (i) Is it worth mentioning at appeal my child’s good results in other 11+ tests? ... cation#b50" onclick=";return false;

    (j) How do I argue against the fact that my preferred school is oversubscribed? ... -school#c1" onclick=";return false; ... -school#c2" onclick=";return false;

    (k) What is a review? ... cation#b18" onclick=";return false;

    (l) I’m confused about the new review/appeal system in Bucks. ... aneous#e32" onclick=";return false;
    (m) Can I PM you about my appeal?
    Advice on appeals is normally given on the forum only, and is freely available. We do not offer a private service. By spending our time on the forum we are able to help as many parents as possible.

    (n) Please see the Q&As for many more questions and answers:" onclick=";return false;

    4. Some cautionary words:
      • You might win an appeal with strong academic evidence but no extenuating circumstances.
        You cannot win an appeal with extenuating circumstances but insufficient academic evidence.
      • Don't enter a review or appeal or complaints procedure expecting to win!
        In most cases the odds are likely to be against you.

        You cannot make a complaint about the conduct of your appeal just because you don't like the decision.
        There needs to have been a procedural error so serious as to cause an injustice (i.e. the outcome of the appeal would probably have been different if the error had not occurred). See Ombudsman/ESFA.
    [size=150][b]5.Posting guidelines for ... color][/u].

    The Q&A document is lengthy, but it covers all types of Appeal, many different scenarios for appeal evidence, and it is based on years of advising on many hundreds of real cases on this Forum.

    (b) Non-Qualification

    Whether or not it's worth appealing depends on the strength of the case you can put forward. It's also worth bearing in mind that, the further away you are from a qualifying score, the stronger your case usually needs to be.

    In most case the best thing to do is probably to talk it through with the Head of your child’s current school. If you do go to appeal, ideally you'll want the school's support.

    If the Head seems willing to support you, you should ask some specific questions of him/her:
      • • Is the school willing to give strong support to the appeal?
        • Did the school fully expect your child to qualify?
        • Will the school predict 'exceeding expectations'? Even better, significantly 'exceeding expectations'?
        • Does the school have good results for any standardised tests done by your child, such as CATs, that could be used as evidence? (Scores around the 90th percentile or preferably higher would be ideal.)
        • Might it be in order to ask the class teacher for an additional letter of support?
  • You should also have a look yourself at your child's recent school reports and see if there are references to very high achievement that would support your case.
(c) Oversubscription

You will need to put forward your specific reasons for wanting a place at the school in question. These must be supported by evidence wherever possible.

Examples of the sort of reasons commonly given can be found in the Q&As C2: Appealing for an oversubscribed school.

(d) All appeals

As soon as you've not been allocated your preferred school, apply to the Admission Authority for an appeals form. Don't delay - there will be a deadline if you want your appeal to be heard at the same time as most of the others.

Nationally around one-third of appeals succeed, but there can be considerable variations from area to area. The success rate for some academies, foundation and VA schools is suspiciously low.
There are no national statistics for grammar school appeals, but one would expect the success rate for grammar schools to be lower than the national average for all secondary schools because there is often the issue of non-qualification as well as oversubscription.

Going through the Appeals process can be very stressful, and realistically the odds are against you. However, if you don’t try, you'll never know what might have been. If in doubt, go ahead and appeal!

(e) I’ve read all the advice on here and I still have questions

You are welcome to post your questions on the Appeals section once you have finished reading this! We will reply as quickly as we can, but please remember that we are all volunteers and that there are only a small number of us who have technical expertise in Appeals.

Any advice that we give you will be general advice based on nationally established procedures for Appeals, plus personal experience. We may well lack specific knowledge of your local area, so please ensure that you check for any local variations that may be relevant.

To post on the Forum you will need to register if you haven't already done so. We strongly recommend that you do not use your real name on the Forum, especially when posting about Appeals.
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