Thursday, 9 October 2014

11+ appeals under the new sytem (post 2013)

To those whose children have just done the 11+, 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+ 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 article is an attempt to explain it, as I understand it. If you appeal, please 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This has been replaced by a two-tier system.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 head teachers. 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 amongst friends dealing with the 11+ in 2013. Out of everyone 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+ forums, not from the BCC website; have a look at

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