Your child has passed the 11+, but has not been offered a grammar school place. Or perhaps your child has narrowly missed the required mark or has not performed as expected in the tests. What can you do?
Unfortunately passing the 11+ does not always guarantee you a place at a grammar school. Some will select by the highest score, others by proximity to the school. Every year a substantial number of grammar ability children are not offered a grammar school place on National Offer Day. If this has happened to your child you will, understandably, feel both disappointed and, probably, that the system is unfair.
Who can appeal?
By law, you are entitled to challenge this decision in an appeal. You may appeal if you believe your child is of grammar school ability and the test result was not a fair representation of his/her academic level, or if your child has passed the 11+ but not been offered a grammar school place. You may also appeal to a school named higher up in your priority list when you have been offered another grammar school place.
It is possible to appeal to one or all of the schools named on your secondary school selection form. But how do you go about it and on what grounds can you legitimately appeal?
How do I appeal?
It is essential to accept the place at the school you have been offered, otherwise you may find you have no place at all come September. You should not rule this school out anyway. A bad local reputation can linger after a school has improved under a new head. Go and visit and see for yourself.
If you’re still keen to pursue your grammar school appeal, follow our step-by-step guide here to lodge an appeal, prepare for a school appeal hearing, what to do on the day, what evidence you will need and when you will find out the outcome of your appeal.
Note that for a selective school appeal you will need to supply compelling evidence showing that the child is of grammar school ability, and evidence to back up claims that your child's performance was affected by events on the day or immediately prior to the test.
Grammar school appeals - can we help?
We can advise you. But we must tell you, at the outset, that unless your case is truly exceptional, there is a less than 50% chance of success. However, we have long experience in advising parents honestly, frankly and expertly.
Our expert consultants offer a 30 minute ‘telephone consultation’ which will:
- discuss the merits of possible grounds you may have for appeal, give you an indication of which have a chance of being successful and which will not.
- explain the ‘balancing act’ which appeal panels must consider and which lies at the heart of a successful appeal.
- tell you where to start. What documents to assemble, what type of evidence/references will hold sway, what type of documents can not be considered, what information you are entitled to request from the education authority.
- give you advice on how to complete the initial paperwork registering your appeal, and how to write your appeal case.
- tell you what to expect on the day, how the hearings are conducted, how best to present your case, and what not to do/say on the day.
Our consultation can also help you to decide whether an appeal is the right route for you, or whether you would like us to help you investigate alternative schools.
Who will advise me?
We have two specialist appeals advisors – Bernadette John and Sue Baker. Bernadette is a veteran of the grammar system and specialises in guiding parents through the complexities of appeals. You may read about Bernadette here: Who We Are
How much does it cost?
Your 30 minute call will cost £150. You will need to pre-book it by calling 0203 286 6824 or emailing: [email protected] with ‘grammar appeal’ in the subject line.
You can also find out more about the service by contacting us beforehand. It is sensible to have all relevant information and your questions ready before you begin your conversation with your consultant.
Finally, before opting for a telephone consultation it can be helpful to ensure that your child’s current head teacher will back your claim that your child is of grammar school ability – without this your chances of success at appeal may be very low.
NB We can only offer advice and no guarantee of success at appeal. Success or failure is very hard to predict and varies enormously between schools, and from year to year.