It's all because everyone here has to go through the 11+ tests unless you specifically opt out.
The tests now start at the beginning of October rather than much later in the school year, as used to be the case, because school places have to be allocated by 1st March. Now the results are out the appeals have to be dealt and these take until early Feb. to finish. Anyone successful in these is then added to the 'passes' and places are allocated on 1st March.
It's quite a drawn out process really and there's a lot of pressure, especially in year 5 and then, of course, taking the test itself. In lots of ways it would be so much easier to live in Herts within catchment of a good comp - certainly a lot less hassle - and you're assured of a good school whatever your child's ability.
We may have our results earlier in Bucks but, boy, the process seems to have been going on forever. Those who have been successful, though, can now pretty much rest easy as a grammar place is guaranteed and the vast majority get their first choice. For those that weren't so fortunate though, it can be a nightmare.