A new set of figures released by local grammar schools shows that for the first time, more children from outside than inside the county are passing the Bucks 11+ exam.
In the 11+ exams for 2013 and 2014 entry, most children who passed the exam were from Bucks. But in the 11+ exam for 2015 entry, 78 more non-Bucks children than Bucks children passed, and in this year’s exam that figure more than trebled to 252.
In the last four years, the number of non-Bucks children sitting the 11+ exam has increased by over 1000, from 2443 children to 3674 children. At the same time, the gap between the pass rate of Bucks and non-Bucks children has steadily grown, and now stands at 20 percentage points – 26% versus 46%.
New data obtained under freedom of information also shows for the first time the huge distances being travelled by children to Bucks grammar schools. Aylesbury Grammar School and Aylesbury High School are two of the worst offenders with average home-school distances of 13km and 12km respectively for children in this year’s intake.
At John Hampden Grammar School in High Wycombe, 47 of their Year 7 children – one-third of the year group – live more than 10km from the school. Seven children’s homes are situated more than 20km from the school. (These distances are direct line distances between home and school – actual travel distances will usually be significantly further.)
Derek Berry of campaign group Local Equal Excellent said:
“Local schools should be for local children. But children from across Bucks are being denied the chance to attend a nearby school because of the unfairness of the 11+ exam.
“Councillor Zahir Mohammed shows little concern for the Bucks children who are disadvantaged by the 11+. Part of the problem seems to be that he simply doesn’t understand how rising numbers of out of county applicants impact on the test mark standardisation process and therefore on the pass results for Bucks children. And so he happily continues to support a system that works against local families.
“What LEE and parents in Bucks wish for is an equal chance for all of our children to progress to the best of their ability throughout their secondary school years. Instead we have an education gap which closes during the primary phase and then immediately increases as soon as children go to secondary schools. And selection is to blame.”
Dr Katy Simmons said:
“The law states quite clearly that academies must serve pupils from the area in which they are situated. How many grammar schools are complying with this legal requirement? It cannot be right that at the same time, pressure is being put on our non-selective secondary schools to increase their intake.”
For further comment contact:
Dr Katy Simmons on 07970 656153 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Hickman at email@example.com
Notes to editors:
1. The home-school distance data for Bucks grammar schools’ 2015 intakes was obtained from Bucks County Council under freedom of information.
2. The Academies Act 2010 states that academies must “provide education for pupils who are wholly or mainly drawn from the area in which the school is situated.”
3. Local, Equal, Excellent supports fair access to secondary schools for all Bucks children. See www.facebook.com/localequalexcellent