A Beginner’s Guide To The 11 Plus – Kent, Medway and Gravesend Edition
Chapter 6: If Your Child Doesn’t Pass the Tests
No matter how much you prepare your child for the 11+ tests, you need to also consider the possibility that they may not pass. There may be a variety of reasons why your child doesn’t pass the 11 plus tests, including test anxiety and illness, and if you think that your child should still be able to access grammar school education, there is an appeals process that you can follow.
There are different appeals processes for Kent and Medway, so it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the procedures for the best chance of success.
In Kent, children who do not pass the Kent Test may still be able to attend grammar school due to the Kent Headteacher Assessment (HTA) process. The HTA process gives headteachers the chance to apply for a Headteacher Appeal in the case of children who have not reached the standard needed for a pass. Parents are not informed when a HTA is in process.
As part of the HTA process, a group of headteachers will consider a portfolio of the child’s work – which is submitted by their primary school – and the English paper part of the Kent Test. The appealing headteacher will also submit a report with evidence of why he or she believes the child should be considered for a grammar school place.
If the appeal is successful, the child will be viewed on equal footing with children who reached the pass threshold. If unsuccessful, then there is another opportunity to appeal after school allocation at the beginning of March.
The opportunity to appeal can arise if your child has not passed the 11+ but there are still places available at the nearest grammar school. You are only able to make an appeal to the school that you have named on the application form, but if you don’t specify a specific grammar school on the application form, there is a chance to appeal through the In Year Admission Process, which requires you to send an in-year casual application form to the school you wish to appeal to.
Making your case at appeal requires you to submit evidence or put forward a case. Information you could use in this includes:
- Evidence of your child’s grammar school ability
- Supporting evidence from the primary school
- Evidence of special educational needs
- Relevant medical information
- Relevant family circumstances affecting performance
When children are unsuccessful in the Medway tests, it is your right to apply for the decision to be reviewed. The success of reviews in Medway has been dwindling, however, and in 2019 only 4 children out of 159 who went to review were selected to be considered for grammar school places. In 2018, 12 out of 161 reviews were successful, and in 2017, 24 out of 148 were successful.
The review process involves review panels made up of two teachers drawn from different schools. For each child undergoing review, their primary school has to submit three pieces of work from each of maths, English and science, as well as any standardised test results from Key Stage 1 and 2. The primary school also has to submit a recommendation for a grammar school place.
Parents are able to explain their reasons for requesting a review, but are not permitted to supply documentation. This means that medical evidence or other such supporting evidence are excluded from the review. Headteachers are not allowed to provide letters of support, either.
If the review is unsuccessful, the next step is for a case to be made before the Independent Review Panel. Parents can submit evidence at this stage in order to make the case for their child’s selection. However, when there has already been a review, the only acceptable grounds for appeal are if there are concerns about the fairness and objectiveness of the original review.
If your appeal is successful, your child will be considered for a place at a grammar school. However, most grammar schools are oversubscribed and therefore the appeals process cannot guarantee a grammar school place.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, your child will be offered a place at a regular comprehensive school.