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'CARNAGE' AT SCHOOL EXAM DAY; Cops called as 1,000 youngsters arrive to take entrance tests.

Byline: PAUL SUART

POLICE were called by a Birmingham grammar school as "carnage" ensued when 1,000 youngsters arrived to sit entrance exams.

King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys in Kings Heath, one of the top performing schools in Britain, was inundated with entrants vying for limited places.

Head teacher Michael Roden said the cops were called to resolve issues with parking, although ultimately they did not attend. It happened when as parents descended en masse on Sunday, September, 22 while the entrance exams were being held.

"We had a huge number of people turn up for the entrance exams, it was a carnage out there," he said.

"We called the police asking for help with the problems we were experiencing with parking, but they did not come out.

"There's been a rise in people doing the entrance exams at grammar schools over the last two or three years."

Mr Roden said there had been 4,700 applications for 1,019 places at the eight King Edward grammar schools in Birmingham for the next academic year.

It meant there were 4.6 applicants competing for each place making competition fiercer than ever.

Mr Roden added: "Some schools will have a higher number of first choice applications/total appearances on Local Authority forms of preference (not just 1st choice) than others."

Applications Top grammar schools have seen an increase in applications for places of up to 20 per cent this year as families seek a free alternative to private education.

A survey of more than 20 of the best performing selective schools has shown the number of 11-year-olds applying to sit the demanding entrance tests had risen on average by 15 per cent.

The spiralling cost of university tuition fees are also thought to be driving up demand for grammar school spots across the country.

Robert McCartney QC, chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, said: "One of the drivers is that parents who have made a huge effort to put their other children through private school by cutting down on all sorts of extras have found it impossible to carry on affording such fees in the downturn." Some of the most popular grammar schools report that more than 20 children are competing for each place. Grammar schools have existed for centuries but after criticism from liberal progressives that it was wrong to select children at the age of 11, only 164 remain.

While the government has ruled out allowing any more to open, it recently announced that it would allow existing schools to expand and to have satellite schools.

Janette Wallis, editor of The Good Schools Guide, said families needed to be careful about managing the pressures on children to succeed.

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LIMITED PLACES: Michael Roden, head teacher of King Edwards Camp Hill School for Boys.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 6, 2013
Words:469
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