Us too and not sure if it's good or bad. My dd is smart but his handwriting is appalling
I'd be truly surprised if the quality of the handwriting was taken into account. Bad writing can be a sign of a fast bright brain but the muscles in the hand having trouble keeping up.
If the exam were going to be changed, I would expect the Admissions Policy for each school to reflect that. The policies for 2014 are out for consultation by the public at the moment. Some schools don't mention the type of the exam, others (I think) just mention a VR paper. Have a look either at the schools web sites or Glos CC to find them.
Finally, I think (my personal opinion) that the schools are always trying to find ways of minimising the 'tuition/tutoring for the test' effect. They want to select the brightest pupils rather than the 'brightest of those who have been tutored along with the few who were not tutored but were super-bright'. This seems entirely sensible and fair to me.