Should the 11+ be pushed back as suggested by the government to as late as November? The guidance which is only advisory indicates that children are not “likely to perform to their utmost ability in a test at the beginning of September” because of school closures during coronavirus. This raises “the elephant in the room” – with current restrictions in schools will children actually get enough education in the extra few months to make up for all that was lost before the summer holidays?

Generally grammar school entry tests are held in September but the guidance from the Department of Education has advised selective schools to move the 11+ back to “late October or November”. The problem is parents will be choosing a school they would like their child to attend without knowing if they qualify and that their child can pass the school’s selection test – the 11+. The Department of Education continues further and advises parents to use their final preference for a local non-selective school since they probably won’t know the results of the pre admission 11 plus by 31st October.

The government also recommends local councils where selective schools are avialable provide at least one extra preference – but appreciate some software used to track results can’t handle the change. The whole situation has left the 11 plus hanging with the possibility that parents won’t know which school their child will go to until early November.

However the guidance is only advisory and will not “prescribe a single course of action”. This will be for admission authorities to decide. The governement has also said written tests should continue to be run under exam conditions, but schools should follow “stringent health measures”. Does this mean cubicles? More cost and delay for schools…

What happens to at risk students?

Children that are at risk will not be able to attend due to shielding and quarantine. No clear plan for their tests to be completed at home. Does the test at home also makes it unfair and the conditions will differ from child to child with a risk of invalidating the tests as fair and equal.

A list of changes along with links is available on this page;

https://www.theschoolrun.com/changes-to-11-plus-test-dates-2020

The 11+ was suppose to be a test of a child’s knowledge from year 1 to year 5 but with COVID the final months of year 5 were possibly not taught well online. Furthermore the revision of the material before the 11+ was probably not done. In these circumstances how valid and fair are is the 11+? Let me know your thoughts.

You can try a few questions right now, which are similar to a real 11+ (click here).

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