Figures belie aim for fairer 11-plus
Campaign group says pass rates are lower
A NEW report claims that the introduction of the new ‘tutor proof’ 11-plus exam has failed to help children from more disadvantaged homes get grammar school places.
The CEM exam was brought in last year at 13 Bucks grammar schools with the aim of testing a wider range of abilities.
But campaign group Local, Equal, Excellent, has revealed via Freedom of Information requests this week that the exam has made the situation worse.
Rebecca Hickman, who wrote the report, said it shows that fewer children in Bucks, at both state and private schools, passed the test, and that the gap between state and private schools has widened.
reported figures, 948 of 4,811 of state school pupils passed for 2014 entry, compared with 1,058 from 4,521 in 2013.
The Bucks private school pass rate is 307 out of 438 this year, compared with 335 from 474 in 2013.
The percentage pass rate was 19.7 per cent at Bucks state schools, and 70.1 per cent at private schools, compared with 23.4 per cent and 70.7 per cent last year.
However, more children made successful appeals after failing the exam – a rise of 54 per cent.
Ms Hickman said: “Far from increasing social mobility, Bucks’ selective system is simply reinforcing existing patterns of disadvantage.
“The vast tutoring industry has been unaffected by the new exam, and the evidence shows that children from better-off homes still come out on top.
“It is a system of winners and losers that has created one of the biggest attainment gaps in the country, with the children who most need our help losing the most.”
When the new 11-plus exam was introduced in Bucks last year, test provider CEM and The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS) said it would be more resistant to coaching and therefore fairer.
But FOI requests submitted by Derek Berry, Dr Katy Simmons and Rebecca Hickman, all from Bucks, show otherwise.
Local, Equal, Excellent is now calling for the exam to be abandoned until and unless an alternative can be developed.
The official 11-plus statistics are due to be gathered tomorrow (September 19). These will then be analysed, before a narrative is released at the end of the month.