Parents furious at 11-plus cheating allegations to protest at tonight’s council meeting

FURIOUS parents are due to march on the Town Hall tonight (Thurs) following persistent rumours of cheating over the 11-plus exam.

The Recorder has spoken to parents who say their children witnessed classmates claiming they had already sat the test, and finishing 10 minutes into the exam.

Now, parents are preparing to protest at the full council meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, Ilford, after their application to table questions was received a day too late.

More than 100 frustrated people descended on a Newbury Ward surgery, held on Saturday at The Downshall Centre in Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, and demanded Cllr Dev Sharma (Labour, Newbury) take action on the allegations.

Shocked Cllr Sharma has said he will support the 120 parents who came to see him, many forced to stand to voice their feelings in the 60 capacity hall.

“I usually have two or three people, but the hall was full. It is too late now for me to bring up the issue at Thursday’s meeting, but after listening to so many pertinent questions, I would have liked to bring it up at the council meeting.”

One parent said she felt the council was just hoping the issue would be brushed under the carpet.

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She said: “I sent in the petition last week and all I have seen in response is a statement posted online on the 11-plus forum ( . I have not received anything directly after my complaint. The council’s attitude is dismissive.”

But a Redbridge Council spokesman insisted: “All parents who write or email into the council will receive a response. We are looking into comments received in order to respond.”

A statement from John O’Keefe, the council’s chief planning and resources officer, posted online by a parent, said incident reports, kept by invigilators, had been cross referenced with specific allegations, and initial “raw” scores given for the test papers.

The scores indicated “there was nothing to indicate that candidates have been unfairly advantaged”.

There are still 69 candidates, of a total of 1,416, who were due to sit the test as they were ill on exam day.

Cllr Alan Weinberg, Redbridge’s cabinet member for education, said it was a case of yet another year of unsubstantiated rumours.

“This year we changed the test so it was all taken on one day, but still rumours surface. We are considering drawing up another test paper for the 69 pupils who were ill.”