‘Wealth­ier are still favoured’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FOCUS -

ED­U­CA­TION cam­paign­ers are still con­cerned that the test does not help the more aca­demic, yet dis­ad­van­taged, chil­dren.

Dr Katy Sim­mons, chair­man of gover­nors at Cres­sex Com­mu­nity School, a High Wy­combe non-gram­mar school, told the com­mit­tee that in 2013 the pass rate of the 11-plus among chil­dren on free school meals was four per cent and 65 per cent among chil­dren from pri­vate schools.

The pass rate in Chiltern, a more af­flu­ent part of the county, is dou­ble that of Ayles­bury Vale.

After the meet­ing, she said: “To­day we have seen that the gram­mar schools don’t have a shred of ev­i­dence for their claims that the new 11-plus exam is more resistant to coach­ing. Quite sim­ply, the 11-plus con­tin­ues to favour chil­dren from wealth­ier homes, while other chil­dren lose out. This is un­ac­cept­able.

“The exam should be with­drawn un­til the gram­mar schools can show it is fair for all chil­dren.”

Re­becca Hick­man of cam­paign group Lo­cal, Equal and Ex­cel­lent said: “The gram­mar school heads man­aged to avoid an­swer­ing any of the dif­fi­cult ques­tions. They at no point at­tempted to data be­cause they know that it re­veals real prob­lems.

“In 2014, the 11-plus pass rate for chil­dren on free school meals in Bucks was four per cent while the pass rate for chil­dren from pri­vate schools was 65 per cent.

“In both 2014 and 2015, the pass rate for chil­dren from Bucks’ most af­flu­ent dis­trict was over twice the pass rate of chil­dren from the least af­flu­ent dis­trict.

“Only one in 10 chil­dren in Ayles­bury’s pri­mary schools pass. Th­ese are not sta­tis­ti­cal blips, they are the stark facts.

“The re­al­ity is that the 11-plus exam is test­ing for so­cial back­ground, not abil­ity.

“The se­lec­tive sys­tem doesn’t en­able so­cial mo­bil­ity – it stops it dead in its tracks.

“How many more chil­dren from less ad­van­taged homes and from Pak­istani and African Caribbean back­grounds must lose out, be­fore the gram­mar schools and BCC act to ad­dress the un­just ef­fects of se­lec­tion?”

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