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Kent Catholic Schools' Partnership forced to think again about Kent Test policy

A group which runs some religious schools in the county has said it will allow pupils to sit the Kent Test on its premises – but only those in the current Year 5.

Parents reacted angrily after the Kent Catholic Schools’ Partnership said last year it would start enforcing a long-standing policy banning the test being sat at its schools.

Kent Catholic Schools' Partnership has been forced to rethink its Kent Test policy
Kent Catholic Schools' Partnership has been forced to rethink its Kent Test policy

It told head teachers not to host the Kent Test, which assesses whether pupils can go to grammar schools.

The organisation runs Catholic schools around Kent including St Edward’s in Sheerness and St Peter’s in Sittingbourne.

Following a meeting of the group’s board in December, a letter was sent to staff from chairman of the trust board, Michael Powis, and chief executive, Clive Webster.

It said: “Following a full exchange of views... the trust board accepted the responsibility for deciding how to proceed rests with the Archbishop, and whatever position is reached would apply to all diocesan Catholic schools.

“A practical consequence of this is academies within the trust may continue with their current practice for pupils in the current Year 5, Kent Test set for September 2020.”

"Academies within the trust may continue with their current practice for pupils in the current Year 5..."

Schools that do not want to host the exam will not have to.

Reacting to news, mum Emma Osborne, who has a child in Year 5 at St Peter’s, said: “It’s a compromise but I don’t think it’s quite enough.

“This relieves the pressure for us – it means nothing changes from what has happened in previous years.

“But it’s still a stressful situation. I have friends with children in different year groups who will be affected in future.”

She added: “If they want to impose it, they should impose it for the new intake – so you know in advance when choosing schools that they cannot sit the Kent Test at the school.”

Mrs Osborne said she was sent a letter from the schools partnership on the first day back in January – despite the meeting having happened on December 11.

“We’re going to start campaigning to the Archbishop directly,” she added.

She said she would write to the Archbishop of Southwark, John Wilson, asking for a rethink.

Other Catholic primary schools in the group include More Park in West Malling, Our Lady of Hartley in Hartley, St Augustine's in Tunbridge Wells, St Gregory's in Margate and St John's in Gravesend.

St Joseph's in Aylesham, Broadstairs and Northfleet, St Margaret Clitherow in Tonbridge, St Mary's in Whitstable and Deal, St Richard's in Dover, St Simon of England and St Teresa's in Ashford St Thomas' in Sevenoaks, Stella Maris in Folkestone and The Holy Family in Maidstone are also managed by the group.

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