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11-plus exam may be brought forward three months

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CLLR MARK DANCE: "We would really welcome people’s views on this proposal"
CLLR MARK DANCE: "We would really welcome people’s views on this proposal"

PUPILS could sit Kent’s 11-plus examination three months earlier under plans by county education chiefs that could mean parents know the results before applying for a secondary school place.

The switch could see ten and eleven-year-olds doing the test in September, only weeks after the summer holiday.

Kent County Council is considering the change because it believes there is support among parents for knowing the outcome of the test before applying for secondary school places.

If it is supported, earlier exam testing could begin next year.

But the idea could be resisted by schools and teachers, who could be concerned it may be difficult to motivate children who sit crucial Key Stage Two tests the following May.

Cllr Mark Dance, KCC cabinet member for Education Operations, Resources and Skills, said: "We would really welcome people’s views on this proposal.

"There is no doubt that changing the existing arrangements would have a major impact for children, parents and us, but it is right to ask the question and get feedback."

The proposal is in line with guidance issued by the Government under a revised School Admission Code.

"The code says it is good practice for grammar schools and others who select by aptitude or ability to make sure parents have the results of entry tests before deciding which school to apply for.

Mr Dance added: "As the local admissions authority we do not have to make this change, but if parents overwhelmingly support it, then we will."

KCC says it would be impossible for the test to be done any later and still allow parents and children to know the outcome before the application deadline of mid-November. Part of the reason for this is that KCC deals with about 15,000 secondary applications each year, as well as applications for neighbouring authorities.

While children would sit the test earlier, the appeals process would not change. That means that parents would still have to wait until March, when offers are made, before lodging any appeals.

Anyone who wants to comment can log on to www.kent.gov.uk/consultations and complete on online survey.

The deadline for submitting comments is Saturday, December 15. A paper version of the survey is available from primary schools for those without internet access.

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