When Kent's 11-plus fails

25th August 2000 at 01:00
THE improvements made by Kent's education authority are to be applauded ("Headteachers hostile to Kent authority," TES August 4, and Letters, TES August 11). However, the experience of some of my constituents and other families in east Kent runs counter to the Office for Standards in Education's contention that the 11-plus selection process has improved.

This year, some 54 children in east Kent were notified that they had been selected for grammar school, but they could be not allocated a place in any of the nearby grammar schools. There were insufficient places.

Some parents were told by the authority not to worry as there were places available at grammar schools in Maidstone and Sittingbourne. The authority was obliged to create further form of entry at one grammar school and to stump up the cost of converting a non-teaching room.

The other children were eventually squeezed into various grammars throughout east Kent by increasing class sizes. The process lasted in some cases into July. In the meantime other parents, whose children had not been selected, took up the authority's offer of the appeals process. Grammar-school appeals were lost causes from the beginning

The experience of 54 families and several east Kent councillors varied markedly from the cosy story of improvement passed on to OFSTED by two senior Tory councillors and senior officers in Maidstone.

Mike Eddy

County councillor

Walmer

Deal, Kent

JACKY CHAPMAN


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