GRAMMAR schools in Essex are planning to delay the 11-plus exam in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex says its preferred option is to put off the exam for 2021 entry, due to take place in September, until later in the autumn term.

The move would allow pupils to settle back into school after the disruption caused by the Covid-19 crisis across the UK, heads say.

Colchester Royal Grammar and Colchester County High School for Girls are part of the consortium.

For this year’s intake, there were 5,465 candidates for the consortium’s schools.

For the 2021 intake, there are a total of 192 places on offer at Colchester County High School for Girls and 128 at Colchester Royal Grammar School.

Dr Paul Hayman, chairman of the consortium, said: “Our preferred option is to see the test delayed until later in the autumn term.

“Most Year 5 pupils will have spent little or no time in school this term and testing at a later date would give pupils the chance to settle back into school.”

Dr Hayman said the test may be carried out over two separate dates to ensure social distancing guidance can be met.

He added changes would need the consent of the Department for Education.

The Government said it is working on guidance for selective schools.