Guernsey public consulted on 11 plus exam system

Alan Brown
Image caption Mr Brown there was currently no move to remove the 11 plus process

The Guernsey public is being asked for its views on the current method of deciding which secondary school children are able to attend.

The Education Department has asked for feedback on possible changes to the 11 plus process.

It follows criticism of the system in both the Mulkerrin Review of Secondary Education and the Review of Primary Education.

The consultation is due to run until 31 May.

Denis Mulkerrin's Primary Review, published in April 2012, found the process was too long and he suggested a number of changes including reducing the number of papers and holding the tests at a central venue.

The department has released a consultation document , which includes recommendations for those changes, and asked that islanders read it before responding - either online or by requesting a paper version.

Alan Brown, deputy director of education, said: "The department believes that the current selection process is too drawn out, too stressful for the majority of children and too disruptive to their education during Year 6.

"No-one is suggesting that we get rid of the 11 plus process at this stage; what we want to do is improve the content of the tests by commissioning some new papers... reduce the number of papers and generally make the whole process less stressful and disruptive for the children.

"Independent research confirms that reducing the number of tests will not affect the validity of the selection process and we will continue to standardise the results to take account of the child's age when they sit the test."

The department is aiming to implement any changes in time for the new academic year starting in September 2012.

Choose to pay

The 11 plus is a series of written tests that assesses a child's academic potential and aptitude in their last year of primary education (Year 6).

The highest scoring 25% are offered places at the Grammar School or one of the two grant-funded private schools - Elizabeth College or Ladies College - and Roman Catholic girls may be offered one of six places per year at Blanchelande College.

The remaining 75% are offered places at one of the high schools, La Mare de Carteret High, Les Beaucamps High and St Sampson's High Schools, based on their catchment area.

In Alderney, St Anne's School provides education from 4 to 16, although pupils may also sit the Eleven Plus and if selected they may attend the Grammar School or one of the grant‐aided colleges and live with a host family during term time.

Some parents choose not to enter their child for the 11 plus and they are allocated a place at a catchment high school, while other parents choose to pay for their children to attend one of the grant‐aided colleges, which also involves taking an entrance exam.

As a result, about 60% of the island's Year 7 children are educated in the high schools and 40% at the Grammar School or colleges.

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