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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 9:53 pm
Posts: 8
I have been following this forum for a few months now collecting the valuble informatiin to assemble what I thought was a very stong case. Unfortunately though we have recieved the news that our appeal was unsuccessful.
During our hearing the school rep produced dc’s actual exam papers and quoted scores from certain sections of the test (the worst scoring-paper). We had not seen these papers or been offered a copy but the standerised scores were on the schools case files and of course we had them too.
We provided year 6 mock sats all 111-120 anf greater depth, year 5 attainment at greater depth, yr 3 sats level 3’s, reading age 2 years ahead, letters from head, class teacher and both deputys stating dc’s high abilities, ambitions for the future and the severe extenuating circumstances which led to underperformance. Letter from councillor recommending single sex school due to circumstances. We also provided lots of evidence for extenuating circumstances inc consultants letters with severe issues described in great detail and also very stong reasons for needing that particular school including medical, curriculum, social issues, family lincs and safety reasons.
They do not appear to have taken any of our academic evidence into consideration and in the rejection letter have quoted the sections of the exam paper which have scored poorly in their reasons to reject the appeal. How can this be? The whole reason we were there was because the test was failed and we had to prove that was not a true reflection of dc’s ability. I’m very confused, how can they fail dc twice on the same test and not use the academic evidence supplied?
The invigilators report was quoted in the rejection letter too and this is also not anything we have seen or indeed was mentioned in our hearing.
I dont understand why they invite you to appeal on the basis on non qualificatiion if they have no intention of allowing it.
We came out of the appeal feeling quite positive, it felt like it went well and the panel were very understanding so we are feeling very deflated now and wondering what on earth went wrong.
If anyone has any advice then it would be gratefully received. But thats probably the end of the road for us pursuing this further.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:34 pm
Posts: 1195
Hi I can understand the frustration...you will have put your heart and soul into an appeal. I don’t know what school you appealed for but I know some schools are notoriously hard to win an appeal...whatever the evidence...or it might take alternative evidence of exceptionally high academic attainment to mitigate the test results...


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8241
Welcome to Appeals! :)

Very sorry to hear your news.

Quote:
I dont understand why they invite you to appeal on the basis on non qualificatiion if they have no intention of allowing it.
If you request an appeal, there has to be a hearing - they have no choice in the matter.

It sounds as if you had a very good case. Unfortunately there's no way of challenging the panel's decision.

There might possibly be grounds for a re-hearing if it can be shown that some of your evidence wasn't taken into account, or if the panel made use of significant information that wasn't included in the paperwork for the appeal.

See:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:55 pm
Posts: 700
I too have been through a disappointing appeal with lots of evidence and (through feedback on here) a strong case.

The headteacher even said at the appeal that we had a "very persuasive case" and even though nobody seems to have been granted a place on appeals through non qualification (I'm only aware of just one time they let some students in on appeal following the school's admin error - we were told this at the group stage) we felt very positive after the appeal and dared to dream!

Like you, the letter was surprising and in contrast to the mass of academic evidence. It came down to score.

I just wanted to say that I understand what you are feeling and I'm sorry it hasn't worked out.

Do you have a plan B?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:00 pm
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That seems unfair to just keep going back to the test scores. Clearly the child scored lower than expected, so if they can't get past that and look at the child's ability based on all the evidence, what's the point of allowing the families to go through all the stress and work of an appeal?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 9:53 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks for the replies.

Ricky74, I’m sorry to hear that you were unsuccessful also. Plan B for us is our local comp, I dont know if I have the energy to pursue this any further as it seems impossible.

Etienne, you are so knowledgable about the whole process, please tell me, are the panel allowed to go though the sections of the actual test paper and use this as reasons to turn down the appeal even though we did not have a copy and had not seen the paper? And actually, the papers did back up what we had said and I do feel that it shouldn’t have been taken as a negative.
They used the invigilators report as evidence also to turn down the appeal when we hadn't seen that either.
The letter states that ‘the panel recognised dc’s qualities but...’ would that be a reference to the academic evidence? There is no mention of this specifically
They havent put anything on the letter either about our very stong reasons for needing this school, I dont know if that was a requirement as we seem to have fallen at the first hurdle
Could I possibly please send you a copy of the rejection letter to see what you think?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 9:53 pm
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We did also inform the exam organisers of dc’s severe issues three weeks before the test and had the emails included in our appeal file, I thought this would go in our favour as it wouldn't have looked like we were just making excuses after the event.
Again this was not mentioned in the letter but I’m really not sure how much content this rejection letter should have, The letter was very short.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Redd wrote:
Etienne, you are so knowledgable about the whole process, please tell me, are the panel allowed to go though the sections of the actual test paper and use this as reasons to turn down the appeal even though we did not have a copy and had not seen the paper?
No, I do not think this is acceptable.

Redd wrote:
They used the invigilators report as evidence also to turn down the appeal when we hadn't seen that either.
Again, they shouldn't be using information which had not been made available to you.
The Appeals Code states:
      Quote:
      2.21 Appeal panels must operate according to the principles of natural justice. Those most directly relevant to appeals are:
      a) members of the panel must not have a vested interest in the outcome, or any
      involvement in an earlier stage, of the proceedings;
      b) each side must be given the opportunity to state their case without
      unreasonable interruption; and
      c) written material and evidence must have been seen by all the parties.

Redd wrote:
The letter states that ‘the panel recognised dc’s qualities but...’ would that be a reference to the academic evidence? There is no mention of this specifically

      Quote:
      2.25 The panel must ensure that the decision is easily comprehensible so that the parties can understand the basis on which the decision was made. The decision letter must contain a summary of relevant factors that were raised by the parties and considered by the panel. It must also give clear reasons for the panel’s decision, including how, and why, any issues of fact or law were decided by the panel during the hearing.

Redd wrote:
They havent put anything on the letter either about our very stong reasons for needing this school, I dont know if that was a requirement as we seem to have fallen at the first hurdle
If the appeal falls at the qualification hurdle, they could probably argue that there was no need to go further. (In my experience, though, most admissions authorities have the courtesy to summarise the parents' case in full.)

Redd wrote:
Could I possibly please send you a copy of the rejection letter to see what you think?
Yes.
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a62

Redd wrote:
I’m really not sure how much content this rejection letter should have, The letter was very short.
Para. 2.25 of the Code (see further up) sets out what is required in a decision letter. Any breach of para. 2.25, though, is likely to be seen as a technicality (the admission authority would get its knuckles rapped, but it doesn't necessarily mean there was an injustice). What matters ultimately is whether the clerk's notes show that the panel took into account the extenuating circumstances.

In the event of a complaint, the investigator would almost certainly want to examine the clerk's notes.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 9:53 pm
Posts: 8
Thankyou Etienne, I have sent the copy to to the email address. Your advice is much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8241
Quote:
The evidence weighed up by the IAP included - but was not necessarily limited to - medical evidence, reports and supporting letters from his primary school.
This is really minimal, but might be just sufficient to cover academic evidence and extenuating circumstances.
Even if it breaches the Code, which strictly speaking it may do, it wouldn't be grounds for a re-hearing provided that the clerk's notes show in more detail what evidence was weighed up.

However, you could question whether such a brief, generic summary is sufficient to meet the requirements of para. 2.25 of the Appeals Code.

Quote:
The panel had sight of [his] English paper and noted that ........
Quote:
.... on the invigilator's record ......
I think it would be worth trying a complaint to the ESFA on these two specific points to see what they think.
You should say that the use of these documents without your knowledge was contrary to natural justice and a serious breach of the mandatory provisions of the Appeals Code (para. 2.21).
Ask for a re-hearing in front of a different panel so that you are given the opportunity to question evidence that formed no part of your hearing, and the chance to put forward your point of view.

As far as I can see, the ESFA ought to agree that there has been a clear breach of para. 2.21.

Unfortunately they sometimes accept that the Code has been breached, but then decline to order a re-hearing because they do not think the procedural errors made any difference to the final outcome.
You therefore need to stress that these were major points in the last section of the decision letter "Why the IAP came to the decision it did."

You've nothing to lose. A complaint doesn't involve you in anything more than filling in the online form. They will write back summarising your complaint, and ask you to approve the summary - and that's about it.

Resist the temptation to argue with the panel's decision because that won't lead anywhere!
The focus has to be on breaches of the Code. In fact the online form will probably ask you to state which paragraphs of the Code are relevant to your complaint.

_________________
Etienne


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