Parents outcry over 'unfair' Tiffin Boys School entrance exam advantage

Surrey Comet: Parents outcry over 'unfair' Tiffin entrance exam advantage Parents outcry over 'unfair' Tiffin entrance exam advantage

Parents of children hoping to get into Tiffin Boys School “are considering legal action” over the “unfair” entrance examinations.

More than 1,000 boys took exams on September 27 to win one of 140 places at the grammar school, ranked as the eighth best selective secondary in the country.

But fears have been raised that boys who were not able to take the exam after the registration was brought forward have been handed an unfair advantage after more than normal were offered a late entry test on December 7, before the school places are offered next March.

A private tutor, who did not wish to be named, said she knew some parents who were considering legal action after their children sat the first exam.

She said: “Children have gone back to school and told their friends, so they now know what the test is.

“Plus they have also had three months more worth of studying. Parents are mad about getting their children in.”

Tiffin School declined to answer questions, or say how many children were affected, but headteacher Hilda Clarke wrote to parents to say it was obliged by law to offer the second exam.

She wrote that late changes by the Government to the admission code in February had forced selective schools to change the dates of their examinations to an earlier date in the autumn term “causing other problems beyond our control”.

She added: “We are legally obliged to test any student who names us on the Common Application Form, hence the need to test late applicants. Many parents seem to think that the remaining weeks of practice will make a huge difference. This is not true.”

The school said it had advertised the date change but, because Kingston Council’s booklet on secondary school transition was not with parents until September, some were not aware of the need to register until after the closing date.

Councillor Andrea Craig said: “Knowing a lot of parents who go to this school, there are very few people that don’t know the deadlines of the registrations.

“It’s a very emotive issue and I do have sympathy with the parents.”

The school’s old boys include Victoria Cross recipient Douglas Belcher, Alec Stewart and Jonny Lee Miller.

Tiffin Girls’ School will also offer late 11+ exams but this year is holding two rounds of exams to test curriculum as well as verbal and non-verbal skills.

Comments (5)

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6:37pm Thu 18 Oct 12

VKumar says...

Giving an extra 3 months to study for the late entry boys and girls is an unfair advantage which I think is not a level playing field.
Also I am cross with Tiffin Girls for introducing two stage tests for 2013 entry with very short notice (to primary school kids).
The girls' school should abandon stage 2 exam on 8 December 2012 and re-introduce this new admission policy for the 2014 entry, which would give ample notice. The schools should have advertised via press release and primary schools rather than relying on the Council's booklet.
Giving an extra 3 months to study for the late entry boys and girls is an unfair advantage which I think is not a level playing field. Also I am cross with Tiffin Girls for introducing two stage tests for 2013 entry with very short notice (to primary school kids). The girls' school should abandon stage 2 exam on 8 December 2012 and re-introduce this new admission policy for the 2014 entry, which would give ample notice. The schools should have advertised via press release and primary schools rather than relying on the Council's booklet. VKumar

10:58am Fri 19 Oct 12

Prince Philip of Greece says...

Have I got this right? Parents who were hoping to secure an unfair advantage for their kids are complaining that other kids had an unfair advantage over them..?
Have I got this right? Parents who were hoping to secure an unfair advantage for their kids are complaining that other kids had an unfair advantage over them..? Prince Philip of Greece

2:22pm Fri 19 Oct 12

R Batson says...

I can only wonder who the school Governors are behind this mess and if there is some sort of hidden agenda here similar to the north Kingston school issue where a free school doesn't appear to mean free but rather under Council control. Clearly those that followed the rules and complied with them as laid out early are right here, how can it be otherwise. If one didn't and it was for a serious or genuine reason then that might be different, otherwise I do see how these late changes are acceptable.
I can only wonder who the school Governors are behind this mess and if there is some sort of hidden agenda here similar to the north Kingston school issue where a free school doesn't appear to mean free but rather under Council control. Clearly those that followed the rules and complied with them as laid out early are right here, how can it be otherwise. If one didn't and it was for a serious or genuine reason then that might be different, otherwise I do see how these late changes are acceptable. R Batson

1:21pm Wed 24 Oct 12

kingstonpaul says...

Move Tiffin Girls/Boys out to Chessington. And use the current sites funded by Kingston ratepayers for Kingston children.
These schools distort the demand for secondary places in the borough - as well as encouraging a pupil mix that favours the families who can afford tuition fees.
Move Tiffin Girls/Boys out to Chessington. And use the current sites funded by Kingston ratepayers for Kingston children. These schools distort the demand for secondary places in the borough - as well as encouraging a pupil mix that favours the families who can afford tuition fees. kingstonpaul

4:57pm Mon 29 Oct 12

adamsmith1684 says...

kingstonpaul wrote:
Move Tiffin Girls/Boys out to Chessington. And use the current sites funded by Kingston ratepayers for Kingston children.
These schools distort the demand for secondary places in the borough - as well as encouraging a pupil mix that favours the families who can afford tuition fees.
The grounds of Tiffin School are owned by the old boys of Tiffin School. Kingston ratepayers do not even come into the equation. Why don't you move out to Chessington if you're such a big fan of it.
[quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: Move Tiffin Girls/Boys out to Chessington. And use the current sites funded by Kingston ratepayers for Kingston children. These schools distort the demand for secondary places in the borough - as well as encouraging a pupil mix that favours the families who can afford tuition fees.[/p][/quote]The grounds of Tiffin School are owned by the old boys of Tiffin School. Kingston ratepayers do not even come into the equation. Why don't you move out to Chessington if you're such a big fan of it. adamsmith1684

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