THE parents of a schoolboy are fighting to give him a fair chance to sit the 11+ after illness snatched away his chances of taking the exam.

Tobias Howarth, 11, of Little Wheatley Chase, Rayleigh has been told that he will have to wait until May next year before he can sit the exam after he suffered gastroenteritis when he was meant to take the test last Tuesday.

Once he takes the exam, Tobias, who attends Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Primary School in Rayleigh, will only be able to be put on the waiting list even if he reaches the marks that would send him to his preferred school.

Tobias’ mother, Louise, 43, said: “He had the bout of illness the night before the exam was supposed to be sat and he then had to spend the next 48 hours out of school.

"We tried to contact the school office but it did not open until 9am and we had to register to sit the exam at 9.15.”

Mrs Howarth contacted the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE), who run the 11+ in Essex, who told her that he would have to sit the exam in May 2018.

The CSSE also stated that there would be no provision for the student to sit the exam at his own school. A letter from CSSE to the parents said: “We have a May 2018 test day, which is reserved for illness and exception circumstances.

"We are happy to register your child for that test, subject to receiving confirmation from the primary school, or medical evidence that he was unwell on October 3 2017.”

More than 6,000 children registered for the tests this year.

Neil Howarth, 41, Tobias’s dad, feels that more test dates should be offered to satisfy the high demand.

He said: “Our problem is that when we applied for Tobias to set the test, he was only given the later date as opposed to September 23.

“They should have put on more dates. Tobias has been stressed about the situation and he does not know whether he is taking the test or not. I guess it is causing him unneeded stress.”

Mark Francois MP was contacted by the family after Tobias was told he would have wait until May to sit the exam.

Mr Francois said: “It is a shame that because he was ill Tobias missed the original 11+ examination date, but this was hardly his fault and I can well understand both his frustration and that of his parents at the resulting situation.”

The Echo contacted the CSSE, but they did not reply before the paper went to print.