With com­mu­nity stal­wart

Erica Neustadt

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

TO THOSE whose chil­dren have just done the 11-plus, well sur­vived. It feels great when it’s over yet still too early to think about the out­come.

How­ever, with apolo­gies, this ar­ti­cle is about ap­peal­ing, which you may have to tan­gle with if you are faced with a near miss and feel that your child should go to gram­mar school.

Not only has the 11-plus exam changed re­cently, the ap­peal sys­tem has too. I have been in­volved in ap­peals un­der both sys­tems, and had to work hard to get a grip on the new one. This is an at­tempt to ex­plain it, as I un­der­stand it.

If you do ap­peal, gather your own re­search and in­for­ma­tion since this ar­ti­cle merely flags up some points to think about.

Pre-2012, ap­peals were made by sub­mit­ting writ­ten ev­i­dence of aca­demic abil­ity and any ex­ten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stances, then pre­sent­ing be­fore an ap­peals panel.

This has been re­placed by a two-tier sys­tem. The first ap­pli­ca­tion is to a ‘se­lec­tion re­view’; a pa­per-only sub­mis­sion to a panel of three head­teach­ers. If you are un­suc­cess­ful at this stage, you may then go on to the sec­ond tier, namely a full ap­peal be­fore a panel.

Schools tend to rec­om­mend go­ing through the se­lec­tion re­view. How­ever, be aware that:

1. the se­lec­tion re­view tier is op­tional, so you can by­pass it and go just for a full ap­peal. One dis­ad­van­tage (this past year) was that full ap­peals were heard very late in the aca­demic year and after al­lo­ca­tion of school places

2. if you are un­suc­cess­ful at se­lec­tion re­view, and pro­ceed to a full ap­peal, you have an ad­di­tional hur­dle: the Ad­mis­sions Au­thor­ity will as­sert that your child’s re­view was fair, con­sis­tent and ob­jec­tive, so your ap­peal should not be heard. To get your hear­ing, you must first suc­cess­fully ar­gue that the se­lec­tion re­view was not car­ried out in a fair, con­sis­tent and ob­jec­tive man­ner. Tricky, and you won’t face this if you by­pass the se­lec­tion re­view.

I was cu­ri­ous to dis­cover what pro­por­tion of peo­ple un­der­stand the new ap­peal sys­tem so I car­ried out a small survey among friends deal­ing with the 11-plus in 2013.

Of all those who an­swered my en­quiry, just one fam­ily re­alised that the se­lec­tion re­view was op­tional and that there is also an ap­peal; they had gleaned that from 11-plus fo­rums, not from the BCC web­site.

Have a look at www.eleven­plu­sex­ams. co.uk.

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