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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:06 am 
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Posts: 3579
I have been shocked by the numbers sitting several 11+ tests this year, and also shocked by the cost of re marking by one school. This led me to wonder what is the real admin cost per test?
2000 kids sat papers for 100 places, in some areas, and other areas having children sitting the test just as a ' free mock'. People make their children sit all tests in 60 mile radius regardless of whether they can actually access the school on a daily basis. The child who sits 6 tests, must presumably have spent well over £100 of public funding doing so?

I cannot see a way around this situation, that is fair and practical anyway. Schools, as discussed harangue parents for voluntary contributions each month, but I now wonder if this is to help cover the enormous administrative bills associated with testing.

We are supposed to be living frugally through a recession, there are massive cuts being made in all sectors, therefore I cannot help but query the justification of spending thousands of pounds marking test papers of children, who's parents have no intention of sending them to the school, or even when the odds of gaining a place at that school is just 1:20 through testing alone. I am not for one moment questioning the parent, who obviously, as I do, strives for the best education for their child, but the system that seems to be going a bit bonkers in letting us strive quite so hard.
Is this a wise use of funds, can anyone think of a better way forward?


Last edited by southbucks3 on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:51 am 
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Yes. Scrap selective schools that are not fee paying!

More helpfully though,the additional real cost of one child sitting a multichoice exam, is in reality very low. One more paper printed, one more desk in the room, one more script scanned in through the system etc etc.

For schools requiring hand marking of a written task it is different.

It is the test development and standardisation that costs the real money, plus the profit that the main test providers c e m and g l need to make.

If there was one fantastic test which could be used everywhere each year that would sort a few problems. But no one would agree on it, the lack of competition between test providers would not be legal, and there would be issues of security of the test document itself from sitting to sitting, and year to year.

The new kent contract with g l assessment costs £350,000 for one year. There are approx 13,500 candidates. I'm not sure if print costs are extra or not, and the authority does the marking. So the cost per child is at least £26.

Interestingly, the new kent is significantly shorter - approx 90 mins versus 150 mins last year - but the price is the same.


Last edited by mystery on Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
There is a move towards less tests and bigger consortia of schools sharing a single test.

In Birmingham for example all the grammar schools are now part of the same consortium - Bishop Vesey, Sutton Girls Grammar and Handsworth Grammar used to have their own separate tests. There is now a consortium covering the five schools in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Shropshire, whereas there used to be separate tests.

There are also reports that these two groups, plus Warwickshire - all of which already use CEM tests - will in future combine to have one super-exam (this is perhaps hinted at by the change in the scoring system in Warwickshire this year to be more closely aligned with Birmingham.

Obviously there are cost savings in the development of only one test, and less papers/marking to be done if some children currently sit more than one of these.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:36 am 
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That's very good news, and will also stop the Warks test being used as a mock.

Maybe some of the super selectives should think about ganging together nationwide.

Bucks should really link with slough, but cannot until they stop the pretence that it is a completely transparent local two tier 11+ examination.

I suppose with the registration, confirmation and results all being e mailed the paperwork costs are not as great per head as they used to be, but at the end of the day there are still people Jamming tests through scanners, collating, stuffing envelopes. Etc etc at a much increased level to say even 10 years ago.

Mystery..you have highlighted another way that schools/authorities can justify the new short term test contracts..the larger the testing cohort, from wherever in catchment and ooc, the less per head is spent on development, I am suprised the spin doctors are not actively wandering around the borders of Kent recruiting 10 year old ooc children to sit the new exam.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:46 pm
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mystery wrote:
Yes. Scrap selective schools that are not fee paying!

No, No, No, No, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

So only rich clever kids get the chance of a fast-paced, challenging education then??!!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:10 pm 
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Scrap fee-paying schools! More Grammar schools would solve the problem.

I am shocked by the number of posters this year asking for advice on absolutely mad journeys to schools.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Do you think there is a higher contribution to gross national product from these grammar school children? Thus justifying the cost of selection? Hugely controversial and of course massive crossover of bright kids in non selective comps who also do really well, and also if no selective schools then those GS children would bring up the average of comp education even more, but do you think a few more pennies squeezed into the coffers?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
Scrap fee-paying schools! More Grammar schools would solve the problem.

I am shocked by the number of posters this year asking for advice on absolutely mad journeys to schools.


It's not just this year, it's every single year without fail. At least it's just slightly better that people think about it at this stage than shortly after March 1st - I've lost count of the number of posts along the lines of "My DS/DD has been offered a place at Ripon Grammar School, we live in Penzance. Is there a school bus? Can anyone tell us how our child can get there every day?".


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:08 pm 
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mike1880 wrote:
Guest55 wrote:
Scrap fee-paying schools! More Grammar schools would solve the problem.

I am shocked by the number of posters this year asking for advice on absolutely mad journeys to schools.


It's not just this year, it's every single year without fail. At least it's just slightly better that people think about it at this stage than shortly after March 1st - I've lost count of the number of posts along the lines of "My DS/DD has been offered a place at Ripon Grammar School, we live in Penzance. Is there a school bus? Can anyone tell us how our child can get there every day?".


So therefore, aside ftom the fact they are subjecting dc to another test, some institution somewhere in rippon would pay the administration costs due to a parent's mistaken idea that their child should sit the rippon test, even though the child will not be schooled in the rippon area as they live 300 miles away.

Any school bursars out there willing to fess up to how much their school spends on 11+ testing each year?

Perhaps when applying for tests on line, the application process could trigger a flashing screen saying the schools allocation criteria, and asking if they really want to proceed.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:29 pm
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mike1880 wrote:
My DS/DD has been offered a place at Ripon Grammar School, we live in Penzance. Is there a school bus? Can anyone tell us how our child can get there every day?

Is there anyone who'd like to share a helicopter with me to get there? It could start at the Isles of Scilly.

I wonder in some of these cases if the parents have thought of the other things the child could be doing instead of travelling so far. Homework (on a steady surface rather than bouncy bus), sports, music or even :!: PLAYING :!:. After all, these children are 11 - yep, children. Mine go to after-school clubs both in and outside school, walk home, do their homework then chill-out by playing with friends (sorry, I mean 'hanging out with friends'). They don't get up at silly o'clock to get to school or get home after 5pm even if they have had a club. Even their friends from outlying areas get home at a decent time.

Could it be that a 'reasonably good local school' could be better for the 'whole child' than 'superb school 40 miles away'? Better so they don't have to travel a theoretical 80 miles to see school friends in holidays? Better so they're not too tired out by the early rise & journey to do the work? Better because they can actually get into school if the transport link fails? Better because they see more of mum & dad & siblings?

I've watched slighly older children than mine progress through the system in many different ways. The bright ones who've been to comp, or started at private then moved to comp, or started at comp & moved to grammar after 2 years, or (as many do here) moved to the grammars for 6th form as many comps don't have a sixth form. What is shocking is that I don't think any of them have been disadvantaged by the school they went to and all have done as well as I predicted in Y6 come A levels (not surprising as all the ones I watched were bright). So CHILL OUT and don't get bogged down fretting over which school!

In Gloucestershire, the grammars schools all work together to share the cost of testing, so it isn't too much per pupil. At least 50% don't pass, and we don't have that many from outside the county just using them as mocks. If any of the schools charging £600 for re-marks want to sub-contract the work out, I'll happily do it for £300 per student :D.


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