Bucks Mum wrote:
Also if another person tells me the pass mark is going to be high this year because so many people have sat the exam i think I'll scream! Does anyone have any accurate info on whether this is true? Sally-Anne...any thoughts?
A version of this rumour goes round every year. Where are all these extra children supposed to have come from so suddenly? Mars?
The overall size of the Year 6 cohort is very stable at present, and the tested cohort has also been very stable for the last 3 years (in 2008 it was 7292, 2007 was 7219), so the only numbers that concern us are:
a) The number of Bucks resident state school children who opt out of the test;
b) Children from private schools who may have taken the test in the hope of avoiding senior private school fees;
c) Out-of-county children.
Dealing with them one at a time ...
a) The number that opt out of testing each year is very stable at around the 1,000 mark - in 2008 it was 1154. These are all
state school children - Bucks statistics cannot include children at private school opting out of the test, because the system is "opt in" for private school children.
These are almost entirely children whose parents have firmly decided upon an upper school, or who are moving away from the area (RAF Halton plays a fair part in that, I suspect). The number of children at state schools who opt out because private school is the preferred option would be extremely small. If it is more than 10, I would be amazed.
b) For the last 4 years the number of children taking the 11+ from Bucks private schools has also been very stable. (From 2008 backwards: 374, 399, 395, 408) My guesstimate is that those numbers equate to around 65% of the total private school cohort, so even if every single remaining child opted in this year, the increase would only be 140 children. I know for a fact that they aren't all opting back in!
c) Out-of-County applications have increased slightly in recent years. (From 2008 backwards: 2152, 2063, 1959, 1982) This element of the cohort is limited by the realistic chances of gaining a place under the distance rules. Even if the number went up by 10%, rather than the figure of nearer 5% of recent years, it would still add only 200 children to the tested cohort.
So, the absolute worst case scenario is that up to 300 extra children might have taken the test this year compared to last year. That would take the total up to 7,500, 1% higher than it was in the highest recent year (2005).
The pass mark was 121 in 2005, and has been for as long as anyone can remember.
(Is that enough numbers for you? There's plenty more where those came from ...
These rumours are primarily being fuelled by the situation in Kent, where the numbers shot up from 7,000 to 9,000 because of a change in the testing process. However, Kent has always been "opt-in", whereas Bucks has always been "opt out", so there was a large number of additional kids available to come in to the system.
So unless you see lots of these walking around your local town in the near future ...
there is no need to panic!