Fig­ures be­lie aim for fairer 11-plus

Cam­paign group says pass rates are lower

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­

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.

Ac­cord­ing to

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.

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