THE Wycombe Labour party has attacked a county cabinet minster and asked her to prove why she thinks the revamped 11+ test has given more pupils the chance to go to grammar schools.
At a Bucks County Council cabinet meeting last month Cllr Val Letheren reported back on her review of narrowing the attainment gap in Bucks - the disparity between the success of pupils from wealthier backgrounds and those from less affluent families.
As chairman of the Education, Skills and Children’s Services Select Committee she reported on how the county council would tackle the issue, and said: "It sounds like, I know it’s not published yet, there are more children from schools where children who haven’t been to grammar schools are now going."
But the Labour party in High Wycombe has attacked this assertion about the new 11+, which was introduced last September and aimed to make the test harder to tutor.
They said BCC has published no evidence about the tests and neither has the Bucks Grammar Schools’Association, which was responsible for setting the new test. BCC says final, confirmed figures on pass rates will not be published until later this year.
However, Wycombe Labour Party says it has analysed, reviewed and published information from BCC and said it shows more pupils (47 per cent) from out of county are passing the 11+ under the new test. Not all these pupils will get a grammar school place, however, as they go to Bucks pupils first who have passed the test.
The Labour figures show 4,811 pupils from Bucks state schools took the test, and 948 passed, while 753 took the test from Bucks private schools, and 367 passed.
Mark Ferris, secretary of Wycombe Labour Party said "The information provided so far by BCC shows that the new 11+ is even worse than the old one in favouring pupils from private schools and pupils from outside Bucks.
"If you go to a Bucks state school you now have about a 20 per cent chance of getting into a grammar school. If you go to a Bucks private school you stand about a 50 per cent chance. How is that letting in a wider range of children?"
Wycombe Labour would like further information to see whether the new 11+ is fair, including the Race Equality Impact Assessment.
Cllr Letheren said the correct figures were not yet available for proper scrutiny.
She said: "I suggest Wycombe Labour Party looks again at my original statement to the Cabinet meeting in which I said 'it sounds like'. We won't know figures until the details are published by the grammar schools. I suggest they wait for this to happen."