Most 2021 exams have been cancelled, with Boris Johnson saying it would not be “fair” for them to go ahead. It’s easy to see why, with most children working from home, and pupils having unequal opportunities to learn. We know more affluent pupils are more likely to be well set up for online learning, while poorer children are more likely to share technology and struggle to work successfully. To run an exam in such circumstances is surely unfair and likely to bring greater disadvantage to the poorest children. Yet the 11-plus test still seems likely to take place. We will update this page with news from selective areas of England on plans for this exam. We will be looking at:

a) What we know about inequalities in the 2020 11-plus test for poorer pupils (test for entry to grammar schools September 2021)

b) What the plans are for the 2021 11-plus test (test for entry to grammar schools in September 2022)

Update: 10/02/2021

Buckinghamshire

The 2020 11-plus test 

We have submitted a Freedom of Information request to check results for disadvantaged pupils. In the past Bucks have not collected this information.

The 2021 11-plus test

The Bucks Secondary Transfer Test is set for September 9th 2021, with results scheduled for October 15th. There is currently no mention of changes or delays due to the pandemic.

Lincolnshire

The 2020 11-plus test 

We have submitted a Freedom of Information request to check results for disadvantaged pupils, though in the past Lincs has not collected such information. The Lincolnshire Consortium of Grammar Schools ignored DfE advice to move the test to October or November and it took place just a week later than scheduled, with the first test held on 18th September.

The 2021 11-plus test 

No information yet.

Kent

The 2020 test

The proportion of Kent disadvantaged children sitting the test dropped from 16.3% in 2019 to 14.9% in 2020. Disadvantaged children who did enter were a quarter less likely to achieve a qualifying score in 2020 compared to 2019, with the qualifying success rates for those who did enter dropping from 8.7% to 6.3%. Kent is unusual in that many children are assessed ‘suitable for grammar schools’ through a Head Teacher Appeal (HTA) stage, this HTA process appears to have been used to proactively pass many disadvantaged pupils who failed the test papers. After adjusting for this stage the pass rate improves for children in receipt of Pupil Premium funding, though there is still a noticeable drop, at 10.2% in 2019 falling to 8.5% in 2020.

The 2021 test

Kent County Council statement. ‘Assessment is normally done through testing during the autumn term. Due to the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, we will keep this page up to date with the latest information as and when we have further advice from government. Once the registration window has closed, we will also contact registered families directly with any new information that may be required. Any reference to ‘Kent Test’ or ‘registration’ does not guarantee when or if testing will take place.’

Updates for more areas soon…