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Record 11-plus registrations from outside Kent stretch test centres

By Paul Francis

County education chiefs say a record number of children from outside Kent have registered to take the 11-plus this year - and that parents may have to travel long distances to sit the exam.

A letter sent out to parents by KCC warns that the number of applications from out-of-county children has meant they are struggling to find test centres close to the county’s borders.

The letter says: “Even with schools in North West, West and central Kent taking part we do not have enough capacity in test centres close to the county border, so we are approaching schools in East Kent (Canterbury and Thanet) to try to find enough space to test everyone who has registered.”

Test centres are stretched after a record number of out-of-county registrations for the 11 Plus. Stock image
Test centres are stretched after a record number of out-of-county registrations for the 11 Plus. Stock image

The rising number of out-of-county applications reflects the popularity of Kent’s 32 grammar schools with many more vying for places. The phenomenon of children who do not live in Kent taking the test is nothing new, with applications coming typically from London and Sussex.

Last year, the number of children from outside Kent who passed the test increased by 612 to 2,757. However, when it came to those out-of-county who passed the test and actually went on to attend a grammar school was just 456. The number of Kent children passing the test was 4,650.

Around 17,000 pupils registered to take the test last year but education officials say this year the figure has risen to 17,660. Those figures are set to drop by the time children get to take the exam in September.

KCC’s letter also urges parents to consider carefully whether to put their child in for the exam.

“Many children will find the test difficult. Grammar schools in Kent provide for children in about the top 25% of the ability range. Some of Kent’s Grammar schools - particularly those which are most likely to offer places to children from outside Kent - give priority to those with the highest scores. If you have not already done so, you should check with your child’s primary school that they are doing well in class before committing them to take the Kent Test.”

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