‘Preferred option’ is to delay 11-plus: The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS) has said its preferred option for testing this year is to delay the 11-plus until later in the autumn term.

Mark Sturgeon TBGS chair said the body believes this will be fairest, given most year 5 children will not be returning to school until the autumn term.

“Later testing would give children a chance to settle back into school and it would also give primary school colleagues more time to adjust to the new working practices such as social distancing and enhanced cleaning regimes needed because of Covid-19,” he said in a letter to parents and carers.

Given children may well need to be tested in smaller groups than normal, our preference is also to have a test window this year rather than two fixed dates as this will give schools more flexibility to meet local circumstances, he added.

The preferred option assumes that as usual, the practice test will be taken first with the secondary transfer test taking place two days later, he added.

TBGS is proposing that children in Buckinghamshire primary and partner schools take the test in week commencing 2 November.

For out-of-county children testing will be during week commencing 26 October.

The different dates are due to the new working arrangements in place at the grammar school testing centres where it will not be practical or safe to test out of county children when grammar school students are also on site.

“I have said this is our “preferred option” because we cannot make any changes to admissions arrangements without approval from the Department for Education,” Sturgeon continued.

TBGS is still waiting for a decision from the government.

“I know you will be disappointed that we are still not in a position to confirm the test dates for this year and I would like to re-assure you again that we are doing everything we can to get agreement to test when we wish,” he added.

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