News round-up : 11-plus scores, ‘annexe’ grammar schools, and good news in Guernsey

James Coombs is fighting 11-plus secrecy 
James Coombs is challenging the secrecy around 11-plus scoring methods and the Guardian interviewed him about his tribunal hearing. The tribunal ended in an adjournment with the judge critical of the test company, CEM, for not giving evidence at the hearing. A report of the hearing is here, and an update from James is online here.


Where will the next ‘annexe’ grammar school be?
 There are reports that Barton Court grammar school in Canterbury is considering a new ‘annexe’ school in Herne Bay. This plan has been discussed for years with grammar fan Roger Gale MP pressing for this to happen. Our Freedom of Information request has revealed that three grammar schools have spoken to the DfE about an ‘annexe’ expansion in the last 12 months, but the identities of these schools were withheld by the unhelpful department.


Do grammar schools deserve their league table-topping results?
Schools are now measured using Progress 8, which gives a score for the progress pupils make from primary school to GCSEs. It is widely accepted that this measure gives inflated scores for most grammar schools. Education Datalab has pointed this out before and Tom Perry made the same points in a Schools Week article this week. There are a number of theories for why this occurs, but we feel it is very important that it’s studied and corrected. It seems highly likely that Theresa May will use these inflated scores as “proof” of grammar school success if she tries to expand selection.


Good news from Guernsey
 The island may only have four secondary schools, but operates a small selective school system with one grammar school and three secondary modern schools. In a hard-fought campaign Guernsey’s politicians have voted to abolish academic selection. The last ever 11-plus took place last week, and from next year Guernsey schools will accept pupils of all abilities. There is still some disagreement over whether secondary schools should be organised as 11-18 schools or 11-16 with sixth form colleges, but the key point is that no test will be used to divide pupils of 10 or 11. Read our article on Guernsey’s successful campaign to end the 11-plus here. 
Consultation video
Do you remember the ‘Schools That Work For Everyone’ consultation? So many people spent time filling in this flawed consultation to explain why expanding selection was a bad idea. This consultation finished in December 2016  but there is still no response..! The proposals in the green paper covered changes to existing grammar schools, so we feel they are relevant to everybody in selective areas. We made a video to express our impatience…

 If you’d like to support Comprehensive Future’s work to end the 11-plus please consider donating, or joining as a member for only £10.