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Grammar schools set out 'preferred option' for 11+ test

The usual September date has been pushed back because of coronavirus.

Published by Dan Gooding at 12:12pm 18th June 2020. 3-minute read.

Grammar schools set out 'preferred option' for 11+ test

A preferred option for when the 11+ test can happen in Buckinghamshire has been put forward to parents.

It normally happens in September, but because of coronavirus, the first week in November could be when Year Sixes take the exam.

We heard last week of a possible delay to the test, which helps to work out where children will go to secondary school.

The Chair of Buckinghamshire's Grammar Schools says in a letter to parents that they can't give families a definite answer until the Department for Education gives the go-ahead.

School exam / 11+ test

Mark Sturgeon has written to parents to update them on the situation.

In it, he says:

"Our preferred option is to delay testing until later in the Autumn term as we believe this will be fairest to children 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.

"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."

School - maths work

The letter continues that the preferred option assumes that as usual, the practice test will be taken first with the Secondary Transfer Test taking place two days later.

Mark continues:

"I have said this is our 'preferred option' because we cannot make any changes to Admissions Arrangements without approval from the Department for Education. Without approval any changes would be unlawful. Discussions have been taking place with the DfE since early April but a decision is still awaited.

"Colleagues at Buckinghamshire Council as well as TBGS have made it clear that a decision is needed as a matter of urgency because the uncertainty is causing distress and anxiety to families and we are continuing to push for a decision as early as possible.

"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."

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