Council changes entrance tests

25th May 2001 at 01:00
TESTS for children wanting to attend North Yorkshire's three grammar schools in Ripon and Skipton are set to change in an attempt to make them fairer.

The present system, with around 1,200 pupils taking the 11-plus annually, has been criticised for enabling parents to coach children to pass by using past examination papers.

At the moment, children take one verbal reasoning and one non-verbal reasoning test.

The new method, which the council's corporate policy committee was discussing as The TES went to press, would see children taking two pairs of verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning tests.

Bernadette Jones, head of education policy and development for the county council, said: "Moving to two sets of tests has widespread support. It is seen as fairer because every child would have two chances to do their bst in tests."

North Yorkshire Council sent out 8,653 questionnaires to parents asking whether they would support changing the present system for selecting children.

Of the 1,112 responses, 84 per cent backed the change, with only 154 or 14 per cent preferring the present system. However, only 40 per cent of parents supported a change to multiple-choice tests.

At present, children take the tests in their own primary school and parents want this to continue. If the council approves the changes, they will come into effect for children due to start secondary school in 2002. At present, 28 per cent of children in North Yorkshire attend grammar schools.

Last year parents voted by a two-to-one majority to retain selection at Ripon grammar school and prevent it becoming a comprehensive.

Eleanor Levenson

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