Appealing the 11+

Didn’t pass the 11+? It’s not too late to appeal. This page is to provide guidance to those parents and carers who think their son has the appropriate ability level to succeed at Boston Grammar School.

National Offer Day

1st March 2021

Appeals Deadline

19th April 2021

Appeals Hearings Begin

10th May 2021

Appeals Hearings End


If you would like a paper copy of this form please contact us via 01205 366444 or

Non-Qualification Appeals

You will need to present enough evidence to the appeals panel to show that your child has the ability to benefit from a grammar school education, despite the fact that they did not reach the qualifying score in the test.  The evidence should consistently demonstrate high academic ability. It may also include evidence about mitigating circumstances, that explain why your child did not perform to the best of their ability in the tests.

Academic Evidence

The most ready source of information about your child’s ability is likely to be his current primary school.  You will need to ask whether the school will feel able to support your appeal and what evidence they will be able to produce to substantiate this support.  You may wish to ask the head teacher or class teacher to comment on: ability in the core subjects, English, Mathematics and Science including the predicted KS2 SATS level and current Teacher Assessment Level; qualities of perseverance, application and ability to work independently; attendance, health, etc, which may have adversely affected the child’s overall performance in the tests; whether they are aware of anything on the day of either test which would have adversely affected the child’s performance in the test; whether they think that the child’s score in the 11+ tests accurately reflects his ability and if not what score they would have expected the child to achieve and why.  Some of the Foundation Grammar Schools may send a form for the primary school to complete covering the above areas.  Otherwise it will be entirely up to you to seek the appropriate information from your child’s primary school head teacher to submit to the appeals panel.  The more evidence you have of very high ability the better.

Academic evidence could include

Good scores in curriculum tests, high teacher assessments in core subjects and good predicted scores for KS2 SATS tests.  The more specific the teacher can be, the better, so if John is working at Level 5a in his Maths this will be stronger than simply saying he is at Level 5.

» Good previous school reports especially if they detail National Curriculum attainment levels or talk of high ability.

» A high Reading Age if the school carries out Reading Age testing.

» High standardised scores in NfER tests or high CATS test scores if the school carries out any of these tests.

» Good day-to-day academic work in your child’s school books, especially if the teacher has written favourable comments which reflect on your child’s ability.

» Strongly expressed opinion from the head teacher that your child is suitable for a Grammar school education.

Academic evidence would not include

» Letters about how good your child is at extra-curricular activities or hobbies unless they have a clearly academic focus e.g. it might be useful to include the fact that your child is the Junior Eastern Counties Chess Champion or has reached a high grade in music examinations but not that they play hockey for the County Team.

» Letters about community spirit, fund raising activities, leadership qualities or excellent behaviour.

» The fact that your child was not tutored for the tests.

Evidence about Mitigating Circumstances

You will need to think about whether any extenuating circumstances are sufficient to explain the shortfall in marks.  It is important, if possible, to include documentary evidence from an appropriate person outside the family who can substantiate the way in which your child is/was affected, e.g. you may say “John was worried about my health when he took the 11+”; if John’s teacher can write something like “John was clearly anxious and distracted when his mother was undergoing tests at the hospital and his schoolwork suffered.  I am sure that his performance in the 11+ tests was affected”, then your evidence will be corroborated and strengthened.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Non-Qualification Appeals

Your child's Headteacher may still be willing to state brief facts such as your child’s latest test scores, teacher assessments, and predicted SATS scores. They may also be willing to allow your child’s class teacher to write a report. Talk to them about it.

The official guidance states that the 2 Familiarisation tests are sufficient preparation for the 11+ so this argument is not likely to carry any weight. 

Where a child has a known condition, illness or learning difficulty which might qualify as a disability under the Disability and Discrimination Act the Grammar School should give consideration to making “reasonable adjustments” to the testing situation.  As this is a complex area we would suggest that you seek further advice if you think that this may apply to your child.  You should, in any case, put forward evidence about your child’s condition and how it affects them as mitigating circumstances to explain why they did not perform as well as expected in the tests.  

If your child has English as an additional language we would suggest that you seek further advice about your appeal.  You would, in any case, be able to put forward the fact that English is not your child’s first language as a reason for them not being able to show their true ability in the test. 

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Non-Qualification and Oversubscription Appeals

No. You will need to present your evidence about your child’s academic ability and any mitigating circumstances which prevented them from performing to the best of their ability in the tests and your reasons for wanting this particular school in the same hearing, though it may be helpful to separate the issues in your submissions.

Appeals for full Grammar Schools are similar to any other appeal for a full school.  Please read Fact Sheet 1: APPEALING FOR A SCHOOL.  It is possible that academic arguments about the need for a Grammar School may carry some weight, particularly where the offered school has poor academic performance, offers fewer curriculum choices and does not have a 6th Form and where the 11+ score is particularly high.  You should try to be as specific as possible about what your child will be able to gain from the particular Grammar School which they would not be able to get at the allocated school.  

Oversubscription Appeals for Grammar Schools

There are a lot of people appealing for this school. There was a hearing at night and the appeal panel said they agreed that the school was full and that “prejudice” would be caused to the education of pupils in the school if they take any more pupils. Does this mean there is no point going ahead with my individual appeal?

No. The panel will still go on to consider each individual appeal and weigh up any “prejudice” or harm to the education or safety of the pupils in the school against the difficulties it will cause for your child if they do not get a place at the school.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Oversubscription Appeals for Grammar Schools

Not necessarily. The appeals panel will consider all the reasons for each child needing the school.  It is quite possible that other reasons may be more compelling.

You may wish to include some evidence of particularly high ability in any academic area or reasons why your child did not score as highly as expected as well as any arguments about why the school is the most appropriate for your child. 

Useful Resources is a website with a wealth of information about 11+ exams. The Appeals Q&A section is useful and there is an active Forum. Please note that some of the information is specific to particular areas