DD will take the test in 2014 for admission in 2015. Just to confirm we need to show residency only from Oct 2014 isn't it?
That is correct.
It does make the process seem fairer than this year.
It does indeed. What has not perhaps been obvious to many people is that Bucks is almost unique in terms of the impact of "educational tourism".
We have a fixed pass mark of 121 which is designed to select the top 30% of the cohort. That cohort obviously consists of in- and out-county children. The out-county cohort has risen steadily over the last decade from (roughly) 2000 to around 2600, an increase of around 30%.
The OoC cohort is "self-selecting", unlike the in-county cohort, and as a result, the qualification rate within it has always been substantially higher. If the out-county cohort is allowed to grow unchecked, the in-county qualification rate will decline yet further.
There has never been a problem in most people's minds with the idea of a child from Berks or Herts taking the Bucks 11+, qualifying and taking up a place at a Bucks GS. All's fair in love and war under the Greenwich & Rotheram Judgements.
What we have seen of late is a growing number of children who are taking multiple entrance tests across a huge area - Bucks, Tiffin, Latymer, QEB, Kent, Birmingham, etc. The children are often hot-housed to a really alarming level over many years in preparation for this arduous circuit of testing.
If one of those children qualifies in Bucks but also scores highly enough for a school such as Tiffin, which is perceived to be "more prestigious", i.e. harder to get in to, has higher show-off value, etc, the "better" place will be accepted and the Bucks place declined.
In other areas where there is no fixed pass mark and places are allocated in descending order by score, there would be relatively little harm done because the place would simply go to the next child on the list. In Bucks, with its fixed score, that cannot happen, and the place remains unallocated. There is no redress available through non-qualification reviews/appeals because they cannot operate to a "quota" and every case must be considered on its own merits.
Effectively a place has been stolen from a child who is genuinely resident in or near Bucks by the tourist simply "passing through". Over time that had the potential to leave empty places in Bucks grammars (and a hole in the schools' budgets) and leave a number of children without a GS place that they would otherwise have received.
The only thing that worries me is as SB3 has mentioned, will this be made clear as the rule is pointless if people find out after the exam about the proof of address.
We need to talk about this a lot on here nearer the time in the hope the message gets through........
I am sure that the rule will be made clear to those who take the time and trouble to read the Admissions information, and you can certainly count on me to do my best on here to ensure the others get the message!
We still have an issue with the "tourists" sitting some 11+ exams simply as practice tests, and unfortunately the sea change to the CEM test in so many areas won't help that. Hopefully the residency requirement will prove to be a strong enough deterrent to prevent that happening in Bucks in future.