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11 plus exam: readers split over its future
6:50pm Tuesday 18th September 2012 in News
READERS appear to be split over the future of the 11 plus exam, according to a web poll.
But the online ballot carried out by the BFP suggests more are in favour of keeping the test for grammar school entrance in Bucks.
We asked: Is it time for the 11 plus exam to be scrapped? Fifty five per cent (753 votes) said no, while 45 per cent (622) said yes.
A similar BFP poll in January found more support for the current exam system, with 61 per cent (606) backing it and 39 (407) per cent calling for it to be scrapped.
The future of the 11 plus has come into question in recent times.
In recent weeks a controversial new admissions policy introduced at High Wycombe's Highcrest Academy was challenged but the Government threw out the appeal.
Highcrest can now go ahead with its new admissions policy.
Headteacher Sheila Moynihan said the school's new system could provide “a real challenge to grammar schools in this area” and added "Bucks ceases to be a fully selective system".
150 children sat the first round of the school’s now compulsory "no pass or fail" non-verbal reasoning test this summer.
The results will be used to divide pupils into four bands, before places are allocated based on the new admissions criteria.
Children with special educational needs are handed a place first before spots are allocated to children with siblings already at the school first, then those who live closest to the academy.
Miss Moynihan says the fledgling system gives parents a different option to the 11 plus enabling them to send their children to the same school and it will also help to encourage a mixed ability school.
The county council, however, said in a statement: “The adjudicator's decision on Highcrest will not affect the existing 11 plus selective processes and arrangements across Buckinghamshire."
In another poll we asked: Do you think the decision threatens the 11 plus exams system?
Readers were divided, with 49 per cent saying yes and 51 answering no.
Last October the last maintained non-foundation grammar school became an academy, meaning responsibility for the 11 plus and selection process now rests with them, not the council.
Education chief at Buckinghamshire County Cllr Mike Appleyard told the BFP earlier this year any future review of the 11 plus test would be undertaken by the grammar Academies.
He said: “Any future review of the 11plus test would be well researched and would investigate whether an alternative form of test could offer a demonstrably more accurate way of selecting children for different types of school.
“In any such evaluation, one of the factors to be considered might well be the level of resistance offered by any test to excessive coaching.”