Doubts over claim of 'tutor-proof' 11 plus test in Kent
by political editor Paul Francis
Claims the 11-plus can be made "tutor proof" have been
questioned by opposition parties.
County education chiefs are asking head teachers for their views
on options to reform the test - amid growing concerns it
favours those who can afford to pay for tuition or coaching.
But Liberal Democrat spokesman Cllr Martin Vye said he had
doubts a tutor-proof exam was possible.
He also expressed concern some of the
options outlined by Kent County Council would actually make it
harder for children from less well-off backgrounds to get a place
at one of Kent's 33 grammar schools.
Among possible changes could be that schools would no longer be
able to prepare pupils using practice papers.
Cllr Vye, pictured left, said: "There are schools where there
are large numbers of pupils with problems and maybe only a few
'brighter sparks' and not to let them have a go at practice papers
would be to disadvantage them.
"They are unlikely to be used to that sort of test. Generally
speaking, the idea that you can produce a test that cannot be
taught to is nonsense, when you are considering that we are talking
about basic competency in numeracy and literacy."
A consultation on Kent County Council's possible changes has
just ended, although some have criticised the length of time
schools were given to respond.
A questionnaire was distributed to schools shortly before the
end of term and the deadline for responses passed on Monday -
when many schools had yet to return for the new term.
Meanwhile, in a sign of the growing demand among some parents
for private coaching, one tuition company is charging parents £135
a month for 11-plus courses.
Learning, which has a centre in Ashford and operates in two other
selective education authorities, is promoting eleven plus courses
at a cost of £135 per month which include two sessions each week
for children during term time.
Those who sign up for courses are also offered access to online
materials - including practice papers in non-verbal reasoning.
KCC says will consider the options to change the exam later this
year, but it is unlikely that there will be a revamp before
- Click here for more news from across the county...