What would happen to the world if eleven plus children were allowed to go into `The Den of the Appeal’ to hear their parents talking and listening to the panel?
“Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. X. Hello P. I don’t want you to worry now; you will have your chance to speak a little later on.”
Presumably the child would only be allowed to speak when offered the opportunity.
“Now tell me, P., why did you score too few marks on the verbal reasoning test?” (Straight to the point?)
Meanwhile one of the panel is quietly filing in an observation sheet. There would be nothing new about a sheet like this because in a classroom situation, GCSE children are often assessed for the `Speaking and Listening’ section of GCSE English.
(Mrs. X does tend to repeat herself. She also keeps saying that P. deserves an opportunity to go to grammar.
Mr. X. does not say much. He has looked at all of us but he does not talk. If he is asked a question, Mrs. X usually answers for him.
P. keeps whispering to her mother. I think that she thinks that she is on a talent show. Any way, I think that dusted stocking are a little inappropriate for a grammar school interview.)
All this meticulous attention to detail could be wasted. After all an appeal board is only allowed to deal with marks that translate into pass or fail grades.
By the time that the family leave, the appeal board will have built up a considerable amount of valuable information about the child, the parents, the teachers at the school and the degree of support of the head teacher. (And what happened in the examination.)
It is a real pity that all the expertise of the appeal panel can not then be channelled into a small body of true eleven plus contenders and thus give `the children who have not passed’ a chance of redeeming themselves.