The three local grammar schools have all published the format of the 2013 tests on their websites and these are essentially the same as previous years. So, if the schools are minded to change the format the earliest that they are likely to do so would be for the 2014 tests. According to the national admissions code where changes are proposed, the admissions authority must publicly consult on those arrangements; and where no changes are proposed, there still must be a consultation every seven years. The consultation must be for eight weeks and must take place between 1 November and 1 March. Admission arrangements must then be determined by 15 April. So this is a date to watch out for in future years.
How might the tests change?
Well, the Torbay schools could copy Plymouth where they have dropped Verbal Reasoning and now only test in English and Maths. This would be a cost effective solution for the Torbay schools as they already write their own English and Maths papers in house. A feature of this format is that children are only tested on subjects that they have learnt in school which helps those children who are not coached by parents and tutors. Further more if children are coached it will be to improve their Maths and English which must be a good thing in itself.
Alternatively they could look to other parts of the country where Durham University's CEM assessment scheme has been introduced. Typically the test covers Verbal Reasoning (English including comprehension, synonyms, antonyms and cloze passages); Numerical Reasoning (Maths), and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Such tests are full of techniques that children will not have encountered at school and will require considerable coaching by parents and tutors.
Whether the tests will change and if so, how, only the schools themselves know. However, please rest assured that whatever happens, we will be ready to respond, so that we can continue to help your child to succeed.