Does anyone have any experience of sitting the test at Maidstone Grammar school for boys please (Barton Rd - we are out of county?). Completely unfamiliar with the area. We'll do a test run next Saturday but any tips on what it was like last year as a venue and parking/traffic issues around the area on the morning of the test?
Good idea to do the test run on a Saturday morning. Don't worry about the KCC letter telling you to pack just a "snack". Make sure you pack a sandwich lunch, brioche rolls, flapjacks or anything that's easy to eat in between breaks because it's a very long exam session - almost 5 hours to cram 4 subjects in one go. I dropped my ds off at 8:30 a.m. but they only finished the exam at 2:00 p.m. Outside the test centre, I overheard some parents regretfully only packed an apple or a flapjack for their dc. When they finally released the children from the test centre at 2:00 p.m., most children were very tired, starving and grumpy - this may well have affected their performance. Even adults need lunch breaks to fully concentrate or perform well at work.
Most test centres have 3-4 school staff handling the registrations which caused delays. Once the children have settled into the exam hall, the invigilators would then go through the introduction by staff, fire drill info etc which took a long time. Also, for the NVR for example, they have short practice tests in between so all in all it's a very long day for the children.
To make things worse, some inconsiderate parents bring along grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, the in laws, the out laws, their pet rabbit, pet parrot and basically the entire village to send off their dc to the exam hall. It's crowded, chaotic and parking is a nightmare. Their selfish behaviour resulted in long queues for the registration hence the delayed start, and long queues for the toilets in the morning.