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Anyone have experience of 11+ appeals citing extenuating circumstances?

(18 Posts)
gg40 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:04:57

Our HT thinks we have grounds to appeal on the basis that there were extenuating circumstances for my ds during the week of the 11+.

How serious to the circumstances have to be? How near to the pass mark should you be? Is there a point where the score is just too low to ever be considered suitable for Grammar school?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 24-Oct-12 11:08:34

I think it depends on the school and yes, how close to the pass mark you are.

DD passed her 11+ but places are then allocated on distance and she just missed out on a place. We appealed, didn't win. This school has lots of people who have passed appealing and people appealing who haven't passed have never got in.

A friend with a ds appealing for a different school got in on appeal when her son missed the pass mark by 2 points. His dad had just gone to Afghanistan that week. She was able to show from mock SAT scores, practice 11plus, teachers letters, predicted SATs, etc that he would normally have been expected to pass.

tiggytape Wed 24-Oct-12 11:17:41

Viva is right. Extenuating circumstances do carry some weight but they have to be proven, their impact applicable to the timing of the exams and on their own will not win an appeal.

You would also need very strong academic evidence to show the panel that your child was expected to excel in this test and pass easily but, due to the set of circumstances at that time, he or she failed to make the grade.

Generally at appeals, the further you are away from the passmark, the more you need to prove academic ability and the stronger the evidence you need to convince them. Quite often a lot of people are appealing including ones who did reach the passmark.
However if the extenuating circumstances are extreme, a panel might take the view that, no matter how clever somebody is, they couldn't possibly have recovered enough to sit an exam properly. It is always strong academic evidence that is needed though in either case

Yellowtip Wed 24-Oct-12 11:41:45

Common sense would suggest that it would need to be in the order of the death of a parent or sibling.

tiggytape Wed 24-Oct-12 11:51:35

It could be a hundred and one things: from death of a pet to a burglar alarm going off and preventing any sleep the night before, right through to death of a parent or a horrible illness in the child that started during the actual exam and led to 3 weeks in hospital......

It should be something that had an obvious and direct impact on that period of time but, more importantly, it should be used alongside strong evidence that the child was expected to pass the 11+ easily and so any reasonable person can see an obvious link between their failure to pass and this event happening to them.

seeker Wed 24-Oct-12 11:55:46

You need really strong evidence that the 11+ mark was an anomaly.CATs, SATs, EP reports, very strong HT recommendation. And preferably some sort of record that the extenuating circumstances were noted at the time..

VivaLeBeaver Wed 24-Oct-12 11:57:39

There was a whole school here that put in extenuating circumstances last year as a child collapsed in the middle of the 11plus.

gg40 Wed 24-Oct-12 12:01:19

Thank you for the advice so far. He didn't actually manage to pass any of the 3 tests and failed by more than a few points. I'm now wondering if there is any point in going through with the appeal, although the HT has said that she will support us.

I'd like to give more information about the circumstances but I don't want to risk identifying us.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 24-Oct-12 12:04:09

Ask on the 11plus forums, they'd be very good and have knowledge of the particular school. What does your gut instinct tell you? If his appeal was succesful do you think it would be the right school for him? If he's normally academic and achieves well then go for it.

But I always think its better to be at the top of a class than the bottom of a class even if that class is in a grammar school. Though that depends on your child, some might rise to the occassion and be pushed on, others might feel a failure and lose confidence.

tiggytape Wed 24-Oct-12 12:20:29

You have nothing to lose by appealing (except the time and effort involved). The HT presumably knows your circumstances and is convinced they are significant enough to have harmed his chances. The 11+ exams are now all so close together than anything affecting one will probably affect them all.

Viva makes a good point about being honest with yourself and judging whether you think he is comfortably of the standard required had the situation not been so difficult for him. If he is top of the top group, G&T, or already at level 5's for example, this may focus your decision.
Does he want to go to grammar school? Will the situation that caused the problems for him require ongoing support? Are you happy that the schools you've looked at will be supportive if it is the case that he needs more pastoral care at first? That might be a consideration too depending on what the circumstances are (I quite understand you not putting them here but just in general something you might need to look at from future schools)

If you truly believe that he is highly academic and does need to be in a grammar school environment, then apply to the grammars and start gathering the academic evidence you will need for the appeals.

lambbone Wed 24-Oct-12 12:20:47

You also need to bear in mind, GG40, that you can only appeal against a decision not to admit a child to a particular school if you have actually applied for a place at that school. At this stage, all the results you have received are pre- CAF deadline (31 October). So the Grammar Schools at which your son has sat a test has simply advised you that he does not meet their admissions criteria. Assuming you have not submitted your CAF, you have not actually applied for a place at any of them yet.

In your position, I would think carefully about naming any or all of these schools on your CAF simply for the right to be able to appeal after March 1st. The strong likelihood is that you will be knowingly wasting up to three slots on the CAF.

gg40 Wed 24-Oct-12 12:43:06

As things stand at the moment, there are only 3 schools that I would name on our CAF, which in theory gives us the option to use the other space for naming our chosen grammar school. I suppose i can then use the time up until March to see if I can build a strong enough case to go forward for appeal.

We are in a position where I am unlikely to be offered any of the schools on my CAF, so whatever happens this is likely to be a long drawn out process.

I am willing to give more info in a pm if anyone would be interested in listening.

b1uesky Wed 24-Oct-12 13:13:44

My two nephews, the eldest miss the pass mark by 10 pts. His parents appeal on grounds that his grandfather passed away few weeks before his exam, also his HT gave him a glowing report. They won the appeal.
His younger brother took the exam for the same GS and miss the pass mark by 2, his parents appeal this time on the basis that his great grandmother die few weeks before his exam, again they won the appeal.
My eldest nephews is now 17, earlier in the year he took his A/S and did so badly that he had to retake again in the summer. His projected grades for his A levels are C, D & D. His parents always glow about how well he was doing at school and how he wants to get into Oxbridge and study medicine. They so over estimated his ability and now feel very let down.
I'm not sure how well his younger brother is doing but it can't be easy for the boys to know that 99.9% of their peers did better in the tests and they only got in through appeal. It's a difficult choice but maybe being at the top of a good comprehensive is better than being at the bottom of a GS. Good luck gg40 if you do decide to appeal.

seeker Wed 24-Oct-12 13:14:21

Whatever you do, put at least one school on your CAF that you are prepared to send him to and which you have a reasonable chance of getting in to.

admission Wed 24-Oct-12 17:49:49

I do admission appeals in one area that has grammar schools. Please feel free to PM me if it helps. BUT you only have a few days to make decisions on your CAF for it to be in on time.

dietstartsmonday Wed 24-Oct-12 17:57:37

I went to grammer school after just scraping in, i ended up leaving in what is now year 9 to go the local comp. as people have said being bottom of class in grammer school was soul destroying for me and i did so much better elsewhere.
So please think about whether you DS really has what it takes to excel there

gg40 Wed 24-Oct-12 21:02:57

thanks again, I am taking it all in and trying to make a decision.

I can't send you a pm admission, must be your settings.

prh47bridge Wed 24-Oct-12 22:17:34

I don't think it is Admission's settings. I can PM her. Just click on "Message poster". DON'T try right clicking and asking it to open in a new tab or new window - that won't work.

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