Parents and pupils should not be afraid of changes to the 11+ test announced this week, believes Aylesbury Grammar School head Stephen Lehec.
The new test aims to make the 11+ coach-proof, to the benefit of pupils whose parents cannot afford private tutoring.
Mr Lehec said: “I think it is an excellent move. The new version is a greater test of an individual student’s ability. I understand there will be initial anxiety, particularly from parents, but once the test is taken those fears will be allayed.”
Mr Lehec said it seemed an obvious time to review the test when the county’s grammar schools became academies and independent admission authorities.
He added: “Verbal reasoning is no longer regarded as the only indicator of ability.
“The new test will also use non-verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning.”
Children will sit two tests, most likely on the same day. There will be three sections to each test.
Mr Lehec believes the new test is fairer across the board but admits extra work and support outside school could still have an effect on results.
He said: “It will be difficult for the current 11+ coaching industry to coach to the new 11+ but that’s not to say it won’t be possible.
“Coaching and tutoring plays on people’s minds. I think it is good if you can create a test that is more resistant to practising and tricks of the trade, but still make sure that good learning in and out of the classroom is beneficial. We do not want to harm positive parental support.”
The new test is undergoing trials out of county and will then be trialled in Bucks with pupils who sat the current 11+ test last autumn. Pupils will sit the new test later this year for September 2014 entry.