Opinion: 11-plus exams are likely to go ahead

For any parents of children taking the 11-plus this autumn the pandemic has thrown into question whether the tests will actually take place.

The Latymer School’s recent announcement that assessments will go ahead with social distancing is the first indication that grammar schools in England at least are unlikely to alter this year’s arrangements.

The school has said it will do its upmost to observe social distancing and will provide sanitising equipment during the exams but has admitted with 2,000 applicants each year this will be challenging.

Latymer has urged parents not to use the test as practice given the gravity of the Covid-19 situation.

“I would ask you to think seriously about your child’s health and that of the other applicants and the health of the staff,” Maureen Cobbett head teacher has said.

At the time of tests there is unlikely to be car parking or toilet facilities on the school site.

The one-hour maths and verbal reasoning test will take place over a period of days. The top 650 will be recalled to take the English test. Dates of the tests have not been published yet.

This decision comes as at least nine Catholic grammar schools in Northern Ireland have decided to scrap transfer tests this year in light of the present situation.

They are yet to publish new admissions criteria.

An officer at Buckinghamshire Council has said a decision on secondary transfer tests will be made in two weeks.

The school admissions team for Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead told Grammar School Insider they were “not sure” whether the exams would take place and urged parents to contact individual school websites.

However, in light of the decision by Latymer to forge ahead with their assessments, it seems in all likeliness 11-plus exams will take place this year.

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