call for public meeting on 11+

Wycombe Labour today called on the grammar schools to hold a public meeting on the 11+ in view of continuing serious concerns about its validity and fairness and BCC’s continuing failure to scrutinise the test.  

BCC’s Select Committee on Education, Skills and Children’s Services is responsible for scrutiny functions for all policies and services relating to education and services.    The main responsibility for the 11+ lies with the grammar schools.  The new 11+ has just been run for its second year.    

The grammar schools have published nothing on the outcome of the 11+.   

BCC has published nothing on the outcome of the 11+.   

Neither the grammar schools nor BCC have held any public meeting to present the outcome of the 11+ or to answer questions from interested parties, including parents.    

BCC’s Select Committee has not scrutinised the validity, effectiveness or fairness of the new 11+.   It has not called the grammar schools to account for the 11+ either in writing or at its Committee meetings.  The Select Committee was to have considered the results and analysis of the 11+ in detail at its meetings on 4 Nov and on 19 November and to have received evidence from the grammar schools.  But there is nothing on the agenda for the 4 Nov about the 11+ and now the appearance of the grammar schools at the Select Committee meeting of the 19 November appears in doubt.  

David Williams QC, Wycombe’s Parliamentary candidate, said “Parents in Bucks are entitled to know the outcome of the new 11+.  They pay for the grammar schools from their taxes and they pay for the 11+.   And yet the grammar schools are totally unaccountable and refuse to publish the outcome.  

Parents also expect their elected representatives – Councillors on Bucks County Council - to scrutinise what the grammar schools are doing.  The grammar schools are private companies with non-elected directors spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.   The 11+ has a huge impact on children in Bucks.  We expect BCC to do its job and scrutinise what the
grammar schools do.   Instead we get a shambles.  

We know from the work carried out by a local campaigning group (Local, Equal and Excellent) that there are serious failings with the 11+ not least that it disadvantages poorer pupils and those from ethnic minorities.  And it continues to favour pupils at private schools.   We also know BCC had serious concerns about the exam two years ago but covered it up.   
It’s disgraceful that the grammar schools haven’t published their data and presented it at a public meeting where we can all ask our questions.   It’s disgraceful that BCC hasn’t urged them to do this – publicly.
The Select Committee appears incapable of getting the grammar schools to appear at their meeting and scrutinise the 11+.  Parents should be given the opportunity to do it themselves”.
Robin Stuchbury, Labour County Councillor for Buckingham and member of the Select Committee said, “Irrespective of whether you are pro or anti grammar schools, it’s important that the grammar schools, which are responsible for a large proportion of public funding for education, make themselves available for examination by elected members.  

Members can then judge whether the grammar schools are operating in the best interests of the pupils.   
Not to do so is not good for the schools and not good for the pupils and builds up elements of distrust with the public.   
I look forward to the grammar schools coming to the Select Committee to tell us what they are doing.”

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