The Daily Mail is reporting several head teachers have revealed that parents are sending older children to sit grammar school tests on behalf of their 11-year-old siblings. Some schools have even introduced photo IDs to stop children much older than 11 sitting the tests.
Andy Williamson, the former head of Wilmington Grammar School for Boys in Dartford, Kent, revealed how he came across a case of a struggling student who seemed to be below the level of his school.
He recalled how he suspected the boy of not having sat the 11-plus exam and was vindicated when he compared the boy’s handwriting to his supposed exam paper and realised the answers had been written by different people.
He told the Times: ‘By then he was a pupil at my school, struggling and unable to keep up with his classmates. ‘I raised it with Kent county council but they decided to take no further action.”
Other cases of cheating include a tutor who claimed that siblings or cousins of some candidates in Slough used to sit the test in their place, prompting the introduction of a photo ID system.
The Slough consortium of grammar schools has the following rule on its website: ‘Registrations will not be complete unless the photograph of your child is uploaded.’
However, some people have warned that ID cards or passports may prove to disproportionately affect children from a poor background who might not necessarily have those documents.
Jim Skinner, chief executive of the Grammar School Heads’ Association, has suggested that a special form co-signed by the child’s primary school that includes a photo would be the best solution.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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