Changes to gram­mar se­lec­tion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.

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