it is interesting to note that the communication I received from the school included a letter from BCC's Sue Imbriano
(the Strategic Director Children and Young People’s Services) and that my HT implied that the primaries had also had input into the discussions.
They did. There were a couple of Primary Heads on the working group, and all Primary Heads were notified that the test would be changing at meetings back in May. There was an "information gap" between then and December which did cause a bit of annoyance, but the reason was that the working group did not want partial information about the tests to seep out. In the event it did, which is probably not surprising, and that caused a degree of frustration.
So whilst I agree that the time scales mean that the opportunity for any meaniful dialogue is severely limited it does illustrate that it would have been helpful if parents had engaged with at an earlier stage.
The working group wanted to keep things under wraps until the official consultation period began.
I think it is possible that there was also an agenda to make it more difficult for professional tutors to prepare for the test, and for parents to sign up for tutoring this year. Some parents may have already done so, and if they have paid upfront, they just have to hope that their tutor can adapt quickly to the new test. I can definitely say that any parent complaining about that to either a Primary or GS Head will receive little sympathy though. Tutoring is frowned upon by a considerable majority of them. (I apologise if I have put a particular slant upon your use of the word "helpful" - it is merely an assumption on my part.)