Beds, Herts & Bucks

Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools apologise for exam errors

Dr Challoner's High School Image copyright Google
Image caption The children are hoping to go to Dr Challoner's High School or one of the other grammar schools in the group

A test provider has apologised after children sitting grammar school entrance exams were given "impossible-to-answer" questions.

Buckinghamshire pupils taking the 11-Plus exam were given an incorrect answer sheet for the multiple choice verbal skills test.

Children spotted the mistake as they sat the exam, one school said.

Exam provider GL Assessment said an "urgent investigation" was under way and there would be a "fair resolution".

Image copyright Geograph/Colin Smith
Image caption GL Assessment confirmed the flawed exam was only sat by children in Buckinghamshire

The affected test was the entrance exam for 13 grammar schools in the county.

A mother whose child sat the exam, and did not want to be named, said: "It was impossible to answer and kids began raising their hands - which at the age of 10 under exam conditions takes some courage."

She added it "beggars belief that no-one proof read it".

Karnie Sharp from Bray, Berkshire, said her daughter Isabella took the test.

She told BBC Radio Berkshire: "Isabella, when she was practising at home and got stuck on a question, laboured over it - and that was our biggest fear when I spoke to my husband.

"I said 'Oh my goodness, she would have got stuck and not move forward.'"

The Gerrards Cross CE School, a primary school, wrote to parents to say the questions made children "concerned" and "upset" and this may have affected their overall performance.

A joint statement from GL Assessment and The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools said: "Two questions in the Verbal Skills paper could not be answered correctly as the options on the answer sheet did not reflect those in the question paper.

"As soon as the issue was identified, every effort was made to give instructions to all test centres, informing them that candidates should not attempt to answer the two questions.

"An urgent investigation is already under way. However, we would like to assure all parents and candidates that there will be a fair resolution within a very short period of time and we will update parents as soon as we can."

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The statement also apologised for "any anxiety" the children and their parents may have experienced.

Buckinghamshire County Council said it had scheduled an "urgent" meeting with GL Assessment and the Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools group.

The school group has written to prospective parents to say scores for the questions would be omitted from the final marks.

GL Assessment confirmed the flawed exam was only sat by children in Buckinghamshire.

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