CEM 11 Plus


Historical University of Durham® threats

In June 2019 Durham University sold its CEM unit to Cambridge Assessment (CA) and Cambridge University Press (CUP) for £17.8 million in cash.

It seems Durham University finally lost the war of attrition and lost many clients during the battle with so many parties.

The for sale sign went up in May 2018 Durham were advised by BDO.


As Children's Educational Material 11+ was constantly being threatened by Durham University® in various jurisdictions around the world it may have had to move domains. Amongst one reason is they object to us advising parents to use other 11+ exams as free mocks - a legal right for any parent, and hardly any of their business. Please follow us on Twitter where we will display where this site moves. Your data will be safe and transferred to any new domain. You can always email us at cemelevenplus@gmail.com.

Below is their claim:

It is the University of Durham's claim that the registrant of this website has abusively registered this domain name in order to do two things:

1. to unfairly take advantage of CEM's good name and reputation in order to sell its tuition services and educational materials; and  

2. to disrupt the business of CEM and the University of Durham and to damage the good reputation of CEM and the University of Durham and the testing services provided by CEM.

Our comments:

1. It is well known that the University of Durham's CEM unit did NOT sell to the public or sell past papers. Why on earth would the public be confused when the site clearly states that there is no connection with this Unit?  This is made clear on the Home Page and every single page of this site. The public would not need to visit the University's site, as they do not deal with the public. Visitors of this site seek information on how to prepare children for the 11+ and obtain Children's Educational Material  (CEM) for the 11+ The logo is not similar to the University's nor is the look and feel of the site. Every product sold states clearly that there is no connection with the Unit. The University makes claims that preparation is not required so how could its name be tarnished?

The term cem 11 plus  and cem11+ was first used by CoolCleverKids.co.uk and not the University of Durham, who used the phrase later on. The University did not own the trademark CEM and only filed an application on 8th Feb, 2013, after this site was registered and we pointed out they did not own the trademark. Their application was granted months later.

2. Why would cem11plus attempt to disrupt the business of Durham University? Surely, the success of the CEM unit would be of benefit to cem11plus.

3. CEM is an internationally recognised acronym for Children's Educational Material. See:  https://www.acronymfinder.com/CEM.html
    There are 111 listings for the abbreviation. There are various trademarks for CEM in the UK and worldwide.

As for the other claims:

1. This site simply levels the playing field and highlights the ridiculous situation of the same test being used on multiple dates and how tuition centres can exploit this. This does not cast doubt of the University's offering, but the local authority that sets the dates of tests. We do not charge for information relating to past questions. This information is free, as we do not believe it should be exclusive to tuition centres alone.

Past questions are discussed on many sites.

2. Many regions such as Birmingham and Walsall do not have catchment areas. Why shouldn't parents allow children to practice exams, or even consider moving? If the unit claims their test is resistant to prepping, then what difference would it make? Parents may wish to move area and have every right to sit an exam far from their homes. 11plus.eu favours a national 11+ exam. 11plus.eu is an advice site and provides good advice, which parents appreciate.

This site has not illegally reproduced any trade marks and has simply acknowledged Trade marks in a legal manner making it clear that the site is not associated with the University. The University has been bullying this site and demanding it be handed over to them when they have no legitimate claim to the site. We do not target the University and believe the  actions of the University may tarnish their own reputation.

CEM Centre claims

1. "Assessments are designed to enable all children to demonstrate their natural ability and achievement without excessive preparation.

Really? Where is the evidence? If children are tested on maths that they have never been taught or not yet covered at school, how can they demonstrate natural ability?

Clearly preparation is required and the evidence is tuition increases when Durham tests are used.

Warwickshire County Council confirm they have no evidence that the tests are resistant to preparation.
Click here for the FOI response (name and address of requestor redacted).

The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham confirm they have no evidence that the tests are resistant to preparation.
Click here for the FOI response (name and address of requestor redacted).

The Schools in Gloucestershire confirm they have no evidence that the tests are resistant to preparation.

2. "In order to maintain the fairness of our tests we do not provide any commercially available practice materials, nor do we recommend any other commercially available materials."

Does this imply that preparation is unfair? Does it mean preparation would increase chances of improving performance? Then clearly tuition or preparation is of benefit. Surely, this contradicts the first point.  So, tuition centres recreate questions and share content with their students, and others are left behind. Surely, this increases tuition.

But the University targets this site for providing free information and providing advice in relation to preparation material, yet other sites recommending their own tuition centres and CGP books are not targeted by the University. Double standards.

3. Durham University admit they remove questions from marking after tests are taken and test users are not even told about this. Is this manipulation?

Durham`s conduct in tests

In 2012, Durham`s CEM unit removed 2 questions from the verbal reasoning sections of Warwckshire tests after the test was taken and if children had answered them correctly, they were not awarded marks. Amy Taylor of Warwickshire County Council was informed. Yet, no parents were informed.The reason for removal was the University believed children guessed the answer - yet guessing is permitted and they could not possibly know who guessed. According to Craig Pratt, one raw score could be as much as six standardised scores. Children could have lost a grammar school place due to this action.

Durham also changed weightings of tests the year later after tests were taken and children believed all topics were worth 1/3 of the marks.Retrospective changes could have cost children grammar school places.

If any other exam was subject to retrospective changes there would be uproar and accusations of manipulation. This conduct is unacceptable.

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