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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:51 am 
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I know this has probably been asked before but I have heard that there have been discussions at county level regarding changes to the current 11 plus exam to try to make it less easy to tutor for. Changes could affect children in the current Year 4 onwards. I know there has been no announcement from county and there is a huge rumour mill out there but this has been mentioned by several people, including a reputable tutor. Is there any grain of truth to this?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:33 pm 
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This rumour has been rattling around for years in one form or another. There have indeed been lengthy discussions about the impact of tutoring at BCC, as you can see from pippi's post on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19691&p=240841&hilit=report#p240841

The version of the rumour that says "there will be changes affecting the coming Year 4" has also done the rounds a couple of times, usually at this time of year. We certainly don't know of any firm proposals to change the test that might affect children taking the test in the immediate future, so that part of the rumour can be discounted for now, at least.

Ultimately there is no such thing as a tutor-proof test, as has been demonstrated by the introduction of the test known as the "Durham CEM" in some 11+ areas. It was claimed to be tutor-proof because the test content changed annually. However it soon became clear that there was a spread of likely test content that the children might face, and tutors changed to teaching that instead. As that content was more wide-ranging than the previous tests, the amount of tutoring required for it increased considerably, a consequence that was quite the reverse of what had been intended.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:51 pm 
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My understanding is that this will be a matter for the selective schools themselves http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/95 ... coaching_/
now that most of them are responsible for their own admissions.

I suspect that BCC is actually quite relieved about this situation and is happy to leave the final decision to the schools, though I expect will be prepared to arrange testing centrally or through primary schools as a paid service for those schools that want it. Schools that decide to hold their own tests will simply spent that part of their budget differently. With a child in Y4, I'm certainly interested in what our school decides to do!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:05 pm 
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I gather that there is considerable commitment among the GS (and US) Heads to maintaining a single, central test in the interests of fairness and transparency.

The question is how much effort BCC would be prepared to put in to commissioning a new type of test when the academies are simply buying testing "off the peg".


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:14 pm 
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Thank you so much for your prompt replies. It seems some sort of authoritative statement from Bucks County Council is in order to quell these rumours, particularly since they seem to circulate from fairly reliable sources. This obviously causes uncertainty, particularly for parents with children in the current Year 4.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Mike Appleyard said at the recent meetings about Home School Transport that he was actively looking into the issue of changing the test to one (or to a system) that is less tutorable


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Lillie - it's not up to Bucks CC to do anything. All the GS are Academies and so they decide now what the format of the test will be.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Indeed, but surely it will take some time to come up with a suitable alternative? I wonder how far down the line they already are... and I hope they don't adopt the annoying central government habit of railroading through major changes without proper consultation and thorough exploration of all the various possibilities :roll:

Edited to add - by "they" I mean BCC!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Lillie wrote:
It seems some sort of authoritative statement from Bucks County Council is in order to quell these rumours, particularly since they seem to circulate from fairly reliable sources.
My sons took the test years ago now, but even then there were rumours flying round about "changes to the test". People love to claim to have inside information, and tutors are often the worst offenders, I'm afraid. BCC would almost need to employ someone full time to quell every rumour that circulates about the 11+. You only have to read this thread to see the sort of thing that comes round every year viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8901


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:53 pm 
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I think this is slightly different though, since Mike Appleyard has actually publically admitted that the council is looking at the test and is considering alternatives. Though I really think he shouldn't make announcements like this in such a vague manner. We'll continue to monitor what comes out of the Scrutiny committee's meetings (as they seem to have replaced the Admissions Forum).

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