Tutor proof 11-plus is ‘holy grail’, says Gibb

Responding to criticisms of the government’s plans to open new grammar schools, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has claimed that establishing a ‘tutor proof’ 11-plus test is the ‘holy grail’.

Social mobility was a key theme of Education Select Committee’s evidence check on grammar schools held on 8 November and statistics quoted suggested that only 2.5 per cent of pupils in grammar schools are on free school meals, compared to an average of nine per cent of the school population in the same areas.

A key argument for why this is the case is that wealthier middle class families can afford to tutor their children to pass the 11-plus test, where poorer pupils do not have the same opportunity.

Asked whether it was possible to create a tutor proof test, Gibb said it was the ‘holy grail’ and stressed that it was already something that grammar schools across the country are trying to do.

However, Professor Anna Vignoles, from Cambridge University cast doubt on whether this would be achieved, saying it would be ‘extremely difficult’ to create such a test.

She also cautioned that schools near newly selective schools would struggle to recruit the best teachers as well as losing out on the most able pupils.

Exactly how many new grammar school the government would expect to open is still ambiguous and Gibb offered no clarification, saying that the government did not have a number in mind. Instead, he repeated the government line that new grammar schools would only open where their was demand from the local community.

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