11+ Anonymous is a brand new website created by Comprehensive Future. Its aim is to capture the experiences of parents, pupils and teachers who have first-hand experience of  11-plus tests and grammar schools.

Submissions can be made anonymously. Those who may be embarrassed about failing the 11-plus, or grammar school alumni who are critical of the system and fear being accused of hypocrisy, are welcome to share their stories without being named.

11+ Anonymous also offers a separate section for teachers and other education professionals to share their views. Contributions already submitted from teachers in selective areas reveal the many problems that the 11-plus causes in their schools.

The new prime minister, Liz Truss has expressed her wish to see ‘more grammar schools in every area’ and the site is, in part, a response to this plan. It is  intended to give a voice to the many people who have been adversely impacted by the 11+ and the grammar school system.

Comprehensive Future’s Chair, Dr Nuala Burgess, said, “Like many supporters of grammar schools, our new prime minister appears to have little in-depth knowledge or human understanding of the damaging impact of the 11-plus on children. She appears equally happy to ignore the damage that grammar schools cause to surrounding schools and the communities in which they are located.

Perhaps most surprisingly in our current times, Liz Truss also appears to be completely out of touch with the many anxieties parents feel about their children’s mental health, especially those caused by high-stakes testing. We urge her to take a moment to read the testimonies on our site so that she has a better understanding of the damaging effects of the 11-plus tests and selective education.”

Comprehensive Future campaign support office, Joanne Bartley, explains,  “I live in Kent and parents often tell me privately that they loathe the county’s 11-plus but feel they can not criticise the school system openly. The reason is mostly due to the sheer numbers of people using grammar schools in Kent. A third of our secondary schools admit pupils using an 11-plus, and many more pupils transfer to grammar schools at sixth form. There is a misconception that everyone who uses a grammar school must love the selective school system, but this is far from the truth. People find it hard to challenge the status quo when they have friends, family, or colleagues who use grammar schools.

The government is planning to reverse the ban on new grammar schools and aim to create them in areas where parents might want them. It is quite possible that parents will want grammars, based on  an idealised notion of these schools offering a superior education. The reality is quite different, anyone visiting the new site will see grammar schools cause the grim side effects of stress, tears and wasted cash. Parents are pressured to spend thousands on 11-plus tutors, they see their primary age children face overwhelming stress, and some will find that an 11-plus test judgement can wreck children’s confidence.  I feel the new site, with its anonymous stories, will show the strength of feeling against the awful 11-plus test, and highlight the many problems.”

Dr Nuala Burgess said, “This September, around the country, thousands of ten year olds will be experiencing the stress of sitting an 11-plus test.  We cannot understand why anyone would want to subject more children to yet more high stakes testing. This is exactly what Liz Truss will achieve by allowing more grammar schools. No young child should face the kind of pressure and judgement that comes with the 11-plus.  We feel the time is right to amplify the voices of worried teachers, stressed parents, and unhappy pupils who have first-hand experience of the many problems caused by 11-plus tests and grammar schools.

“The new site offers stories about  friendship break-ups, the huge expense and pressure of 11-plus tuition and the damage to confidence experienced by many children because they were unsuccessful in the 11-plus. Around 100,000 children sit the 11-plus every year. It’s quite possible that many don’t realise that this exam still impacts a great many young lives.”

The 11plusanonymous.org website offers quotes and testimonials about the 11-plus alongside a first of its kind survey to understand attitudes to grammar school tests and education in selective areas.

Dr Nuala Burgess said, “We urge anyone with experience of the 11-plus test to visit our new website and if they wish, to leave a comment about how the 11-plus or living in an area with grammar schools, has affected them, their children or the pupils they teach. If enough of us refuse to keep quiet about the flaws embedded in selective education, it will make it much harder for politicians like Liz Truss to insist there is any value in creating more grammar schools.”

Visit 11+ Anonymous HERE.