Dr Gavin Morgan, the vice chair of the British Psychological Society, Division of Educational and Child Psychology, had this to say about grammar schools choosing to run an 11-plus test this year. Gavin was involved in our recent webinar, ‘Relic of the past, time to phase out the 11-plus’, and contributes to the government’s SAGE committee on behaviour. 

The DECP are increasingly concerned that the only formal school-based examinations taking place this summer seem likely to be the 11-plus entrance exam for those authorities which still have grammar schools. As we have highlighted the Covid-19 pandemic continues to highlight the deep social divide in the UK. In the light of this continuing to go ahead with the 11-plus seems misplaced, especially given the established data on the low numbers of disadvantaged children accessing grammar schools.

Most learning has moved online during lockdown the need to access the internet has been vital. Some of the poorest families in the UK do not have any internet access, which will seriously impede any access in preparation of the 11-plus impacting upon chances that disadvantaged children will have will succeeding with the examination. Additionally, many disadvantaged children will not have access to learning spaces and support from working parents.

As schools re-open our efforts should be focused on supporting the emotional and well-being needs of our children and teachers.