Worried parents start petition after 11-plus cheating allegations

CONCERNED parents have starteda petition demanding answers following allegations of a leaked 11-plus exam paper.

Pupils who sat the test on December 20 were not allowed to pick from two days for religious purposes, as they were in 2009 – but children with a genuine illness, and doctor’s note to prove it, were allowed to sit the exam when they were better.

Parent Sugesh Bhaskaran, whose son attends Gilbert Colvin Primary School in Strafford Avenue, Clayhall, said alarm bells started ringing when his son left school and said a girl had finished the verbal section of the test in 10 minutes.

“He told me the girl had put her hand up saying she was finished – he told me the invigilator noted down the incident.

“That was not the end of it – my son’s friend in Glade Primary School said a girl finished the whole test in 10 minutes – she even told the invigilator it was easy because she had done it before.”

The petition, which has been forwarded to Ilford North MP Lee Scott and council leader Cllr Keith Prince, demands a face-to-face meeting with Redbridge’s education service director for answers to the allegations.

A spokesman from Redbridge Council said: “We have been contacted by nine parents complaining about the 11-plus examinations which took place in December 2010, and have already been looking into comments received in order to respond.

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“To date we have not received any evidence to substantiate allegations of cheating.”

A statement from the petition says: “It is alleged that the real examination papers were somehow leaked out and they ended up in the hands of few private tutors prior to the examination day.”

But the council spokesman reassured parents, adding: “The exam papers are securely stored before delivery to each test centre by a senior education officer. They are signed for by headteachers or approved co-ordinators and are again secured until the tests start.

“It is not uncommon for some children to finish the paper in a short amount of time and is not an indication that cheating has taken place or even that they have been successful.”

Following the 2009 11-plus exam, a parent posed a question under the Freedom of Information Act to discover that 14 per cent of the 1,065 pupils passed on the Saturday, which increased sharply to 29 per cent of the 365 children who succeeded at the exam on Sunday.

Redbridge Council is urging parents who have specific details of alleged cheating to contact them.