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Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer test (11+) Review and Appeal Process

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Headstart 11+ Tuition

My child did not pass the 11+ test; what should I do?

If your child did not reach the pass score of 121 then the first thing you should do is consider; is their score a fair reflection of their ability? Does their score reflect their academic achievement in school? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then we would recommend against going through the review and appeal process.

If you feel that you child under-performed in the eleven plus for a specific reason through extenuating circumstances, then there is the option to go through the Selection Review panel and a potential appeal.

What score does my child need in order to appeal?

Whilst you can appeal with any score below 121, in previous years very few, if any, appeals with a score below 116 have been successful. However, due to the recent complexities of the Secondary Transfer test, as long as you have enough supportive evidence you may have ground to lodge a review / appeal.

What is the difference between a ‘review’ and an ‘appeal’?

Review: This involves sending a letter and supporting evidence to the Selection Review, who will consider reviews on a case-by-case basis. They will determine whether the extenuating circumstance and academic achievement of the pupil is such that they agree with your decision and may award your child a place at a grammar school. For 2021 entries, the paperwork must reach the review board by 21st December 2020.

Please note that you do not need to go through the Selection Review before lodging an appeal, however this is the normal route for most parents.

Appeal: If your child does not qualify at review, or your review is unsuccessful, you can ask for an Independent Admission Appeal for a place at a particular grammar school. You cannot do this until after the allocation of school places in March. If you decide to appeal and your child's case went to Selection Review, the Independent Appeal Panel (IAP) will first need to decide if the Selection Review Process was 'fair, consistent and objective'. It is only if the IAP agrees that it was not, that they will then be able to consider the rest of the case you make for admission to the particular grammar school.


What do I need to do to initiate the review process?

The first step is to speak to the Headteacher at your child’s primary school. If they support your appeal you will be need to request a Selection Review pack from them. This contains the forms you need to complete, along with information about the selection review process.

The review pack also contains a Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet which head teachers can complete in order for the Selection Review Panel to have up-to-date information about your child’s performance at school.

What information do I need to include?

The selection review panel will be looking for two things:

1. Evidence of high academic ability: the headteacher at your child’s school should detail you child’s academic ability in school, outlining their ability across a range of areas, with specific emphasis on English and Maths.

2. Any extenuating circumstance: you will need to provide evidence of any circumstances that could have caused your child to under-perform on the day of the test.

Use our checklist below to help you with the Selection Review paperwork:

1. Ensure your letter only contains facts, and not opinions.

2. Make sure your letter only lists academic achievements (sporting / musical / dramatical abilities are not considered at the selection review).

3. Be factual about the extenuating circumstances (do not over-hype the circumstances, just relay them as they happened).

4. Try to keep your letter to a single side of A4 paper (this is not a rule, however the selection review have hundreds of pupils to review, so do not want to receive reams of paper).


The Appeals Process

If your child does not qualify at review, you can ask for an Independent Admission Appeal for a place at a particular grammar school. You cannot do this until after the allocation of school places in March, and appeals will take place from May 2021.

More information

More information on the review / appeals process can be found at the Buckinghamshire County website (


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