Councillor claims 11+ gap 'will be bigger than ever' in Bucks this year

Could this year’s 11+ exams be the most unequal ever?

Councillors discuss the 11+ via webchat
Councillors discuss the 11+ via webchat

That’s the fear of a Labour councillor who voiced his concerns on a webcast meeting of the new Buckinghamshire Council this week.

Councillor Robin Stuchbury belives that the closure of Buckinghamshire schools could mean that this year’s 11+ will be balanced ‘hugely in favour’ of those families who can afford private and online tuition.

He said: “I’ve been asked by many of my constituents about what’s happening with the 11+ examination.

“The 11+ traditionally happens in September - however we’ve not really discussed what’s going on with either A Levels nor the 11+.

“Will it take place with the ongoing pandemic?

“Will we ask the academy schools what their intentions are?

“We have to be minded that some of the children in Bucks would not have been in education for quite some time now.

“To worsen matters, many children from wealthier families could be having private tuition, which creates an even bigger gap for pupils from lower income families to bridge.

“Some of the children on modest income would not be able to afford this.

“This creates a massive prejudice. We must ensure all children have the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations in education.”

Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett responded to Mr Stuchbury saying that it was an important question ‘playing on the minds of many parents’ but added he was uncertain if the council could bring any clarity to the situation at this particular moment.

Currently GCSE’s, A Levels and SATS are postponed across the country.

Anita Cranmer, the council’s cabinet member for education said that she also was unable to give a ‘very clear answer’.

She said: “It’s a good question, one that will be at the heart of concern for many parents across Buckinghamshire.

“I’m afraid I can’t give you a very clear answer but can tell you Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools Group and GL assessments are collaborating to find some sort of solution.

“At this point I’m afraid it hasn’t been concluded and none of us know what it will be.

“What I can tell you is that the portal is to be opened on May 1 for secondary school selective choices

“It shows we are going forward and also shows us what numbers are heading into the secondary selection process.

“We advise all parents to continue as normal, heading into the selection process.”