Grammar schools have been advised they may need to make changes to next year's 11+ plus exams “in light of the fact that most children were out of school for a significant period during 2020 and early 2021".
Department for Education guidance published today states that while many grammar schools and partially selective schools use verbal, non-verbal and, in some cases, spatial reasoning tests to assess ability, some take account of what children have learned in English and maths as part of their assessments of ability.
It states: “Admission authorities for schools which test ability in English and maths may wish to consider if any changes to the test need to be made, in light of the fact that most children were out of school for a significant period during 2020 and early 2021."
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It adds: "The impact of Covid-19 meant that many admission authorities had to change their selection processes for entry in September 2021.
"Admission authorities should consider whether any subsequent major changes in circumstances require further changes to be made to selection procedures for entry in September 2022 and, therefore, to their admission arrangements."
11-plus tests in 2021
The guidance says the 11-plus test will not be delayed this year (as it was last year) and could take place online in some cases, for Covid reasons.
However it highlights the need for “careful thought how various circumstances might threaten the security of test questions”.
Outreach: 'Use catch-up funding'
Grammar schools should use their catch-up funding (including the recovery premium) together with pupil premium money to as “a single total from which to prioritise support for particular pupils according to their need, including for potential applicants who come from disadvantaged households,” the guidance states.