Changes to grammar selection
THE Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS) has awarded a five year contract to GL Assessment to provide grammar school tests, five years after it ditched the provider.
From September 2018 selection testing will once again be provided by GL Assessment, which lost its contract in favour of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) in 2013. Buckinghamshire County Council will continue to administer the exams.
The move provoked anger from education campaign group Local Equal Excellent, with spokesman Rebecca Hickman likening it to “a case of shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic”.
David Hudson, chairman of TBGS said: “Following a rigorous and robust competitive procurement process, I am very pleased that we have reached agreement with GL Assessment and Buckinghamshire County Council to support us with the selection process and look forward to working with both organisa- tions over the coming years.”
GL Assessment will be responsible for developing and marking the tests, with Bucks County Council responsible for the administration services including test registration.
But Ms Hickman said: “Bucks grammar schools are just replacing one discredited test with another.
“The inescapable conclusion is that it is impossible to produce an 11plus test that is not coachable, and therefore all tests will end up selecting children on the basis of social back- ground, race and prior opportunity, not on the basis of ability.
“That is why the selective system in Bucks is intrinsically unfair and has to go.”
TBGS said the new tests will continue to assess verbal, non-verbal and mathematical skills and candidates will continue to sit a practice test and then two test papers.
The new tests will apply to those children sitting the entrance examinations from September 2018 and starting grammar schools in autumn 2019.