The Schools Adjudicator asked Altrincham Boys Grammar School (ABGS) to provide assurances that their 11+ tests don’t disadvantage children with special educational needs (SEN) or those who spoke English as a second language (EAL). ABGS asked the examiners, GL Assessment to provide a report for the Adjudicator which they refused release to the public. The report was eventually released six months later by the Adjudicator.
With regard to non-native English speakers it found, “EAL candidates will, on average, perform less well than non-EAL candidates on the same test.” With regard to dyslexia, GLA state, “There may be cases where the nature of testing and the means of carrying out make it inappropriate entirely for the candidate.” that “each case should be individually assessed” (their emphasis) and that “it may not be possible to establish for certain that the special arrangements [extra time] perfectly compensate for the nature and extent of the disadvantage.”
GLA concluded that whilst the tests might prejudice SEN and EAL applicants the choice of test is the responsibility of the admissions authority. 85% of selective schools have converted to Academy status so act as their own admission authority with no external oversight from the elected Local Authority.
The Schools Admissions Code, the legislative framework under which admissions to state funded schools must operate, specifically states (§1.8) ‘Admission authorities must ensure that their arrangements will not disadvantage unfairly, either directly or indirectly, a child from a particular social or racial group, or a child with a disability or special educational needs.’