The education secretary says he is looking at the 11-plus system in Bucks amid fears disadvantaged children could miss out on places because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The 11-plus secondary transfer tests determine which secondary schools children will study at come September 2021.

The 13 grammar schools in Bucks admit children based on their performance in these tests, whereas all-ability schools admit any child regardless of their ability.

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Despite GCSEs and A-levels being scrapped due to the pandemic and schools across the country closing, the 11-plus tests are, at this point, still set to go ahead.

Fears have been raised that dozens of disadvantaged children could miss out on places because they cannot access resources while on lockdown and calls have been made to cancel it completely this year.

The chair of Bucks Labour, Alexa Collins, said it was “impossible to pretend there could be a level playing field this year”, adding: “The inequality of opportunity will be staggering if the 11+ goes ahead. It must be cancelled and alternative plans for admissions made.”

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Wycombe MP Steve Baker – who has Wycombe High School, John Hampden Grammar School and Royal Grammar School in his constituency – took up the matter in the House of Commons on May 13 with education secretary Gavin Williamson.

He said Wycombe and Bucks as a whole “enjoy a diverse school system, including grammar schools” and asked what consideration has been given to the “special situation” of the grammar schools.

Mr Williams responded: “This does present some additional challenges, especially with the consideration of the 11-plus in September.

“I know that it is a concern of my honourable friend, and I have received representations from Conservative Members in Kent about their concerns.

“We will be looking at working with local authorities that have grammar school systems in their areas as to how best we can ensure that children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are not disadvantaged as they look at taking the 11-plus in future.”