‘Unfair’ Medway 11-Plus

For a brief moment today I thought the parents of Medway, in Kent were revolting over the existence of the inequitable 11-plus and were demanding comprehensivisation.  I was mistaken, but my error was understandable given I had read the following headline:

“Medway MP is ‘inundated’ with complaints about 11-plus”

Alas, this BBC headline was not reporting on mass parental rejection of a biased method of educational selection which is weighted towards the reproduction of working class disadvantage.  Rather, it refers to delays at last Saturday’s 11-plus tests held at Rainham School for Girls and Chatham Grammar School for Boys.  According to BBC News, the local MP, Rehman Christi responded to his constituents’ concerns:

“I have asked Medway Council to fully investigate the matter and to ensure that no pupil was disadvantaged as a result.”

His concern that the 11-plus tests may have disadvantaged some pupils is intriguing.  On days when test centres run according to schedule, are we to assume the absence of disadvantage?  Or, are we merely to accept the disadvantage inherent in the 11-plus as inevitable and necessary?

What now for the Pargetter twins?

Yesterday, listeners to The Archers will have tuned in to hear Nigel Pargetter’s funeral.  In a previous post I described how Nigel fell off his roof.

At the end of the episode the issue of Freddie and Lily Pargetter’s impending entrance exam cropped up.  Remember, it is hoped that they will be accepted to The Cathedral School, in nearby Felpersham.   Elizabeth Pargetter rounds off the conversation with:

“I have to do something about it”

What, we don’t know, yet.

Pip’s exam stress…

Educational life is represented in popular culture.  We know it is exam time because, in Radio 4’s The Archers, Pip Archer is experiencing exam stress . Bless, she’s having a bad time. 

The transition from school to 6th form has not been easy for Pip.  She had been intent on packing in college, but stuck with it.  Now, she is balancing a part-time job, an apparently unsuitable boyfriend, and, her exams.

Pip Archer misses her Business Studies exam

Last week, after misreading her exam timetable, and following a night out with the flaky boyfriend Jude, she missed her Business Studies exam.  This meant, according to Pip, the end of the world.  As auntie Elizabeth pointed out, it isn’t, of course,  but poor Pip’s perspective is shaped by exams, and so is understandable.  On top of this, her parents (David and Ruth) have asked her to think about the farm open day, as if she isn’t under enough pressure!  David and Ruth are also feeling the strain.  They might like to think about contacting  Relate, the relationship counselling charity.  On their parents site they have some suggestions to help families cope with exam stress.  According to an article in The Observer, Relate are providing this advice in response to the stress that parents are experiencing while their children revise and sit exams.  The advice to young people, which Pip might have found useful on the morning of her exam, is ‘don’t panic’.

Poor Pip.  She will now have an anxious wait until the results day in August.  The everyday story of exam taking folk will cover that day from Pip’s perspective.  Elsewhere, the news media will enter a debate about the increasing pass rate, and suggest that is explained by easier exams, and thus, falling standards.  Maybe, the Archers characters can engage in this debate too, down at  ‘The Bull’ maybe?