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 Post subject: is this fair or legal?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:29 pm 
I live in Kent, but may possibly take up places for my two daughters at state primary schools in West Sussex or Surrey, or in the independent sector.

I understand that children who attend a Kent primary school sit the four Kent 11+ tests (Maths, NVR, VR and writing task) spaced over two days. But children who attend some independent schools, or primary schools outside Kent, have to do all four papers on the same day.

I feel that it places a primary child at a disadvantage to sit all four papers on the same day, in comparison with those who are allowed to spread it over two days. The grammar school I am particularly interested in is Tonbridge Grammar School for girls which currently selects according to 11+ score. A very slight disadvantage and marginally lower score can make a huge difference in one's chances of admission to this school.

I understand that there is a list of "linked independent schools" where it is possible to sit the test over two days.

Do you feel that it is fair to treat children attending Kent state primaries preferentially to some other categories of candidate, and does anyone know if it is legal?

Also, does anyone have:

the list of "linked independent schools"

any knowledge of whether a non-linked independent school could get itself "linked"

any knowledge of whether it is possible for a state primary school outside Kent to become linked? If they can't, is this fair or legal?

with thanks

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:10 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:21 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Kent & Medway
Glad to see that Kent state school children are given a fair crack of the whip for once at Kent grammar schools! Parents at Independent schools often pay their money to receive extra coaching, or better(?) teaching.

No one has challenged this in the courts.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:50 am 
Why shouldn't children from Kent get some sort of preference to attend a Kent school over children from other authorities.

For exampl, is it fair that children in Bexley have 6 choices of school, and can list as many Kent schools as they like, whereas children in Kent can only list 3 schools. After all it is the Kent rate payers that pay for the Kent schools.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:19 pm 
I think that if you can afford to pay for an independant school then you should send your child there for their senior school education too.
I think the grammar school places should be kept for those children that they are intended, bright children that only have the option of a state school education.

I would have loved to be in your position when I had to decide with my son what schools to try for and take the gamble of him ending up in a totally unappropriate poor performing school. If you only have the fact your child may have to sit all of the tests on one day, lucky you!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:22 pm 
The last sentance of the above should have said.... to worry about

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:54 am 
Hello perplexed, have unfortunately no idea if it is legal to have the children sitting tests on one day or not. My children are out of area and will be doing so, in order to have a chance at a grammar in Kent. We already know that a really high score has to be achieved to get place (higher than in area children) but accept the anomaly of this as we do not have any grammars in our county and this is the only one we can apply to. I think we are just grateful to have another option, although it does seem hard on the children. I do know of lots of Kent families who apply to the community school in our area but as there is no test involved, there are no "penalties" for their children. That suits me as it would be great if all parents had a choice. I find it somewhat bemusing that postings indicate that some parents feel that the children at independent or out of county schools should somehow be at some disadvantage as they don't live in Kent. I am sure we all have the children's best interests at heart, but the competitive spirit does seem to raise its head at this stressful time....

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:24 am 
I was relieved to receive "guests" friendly sounding post to my question which was generally seeking people's thoughts on what sounded an anomolous and slightly unfair situation.

The earlier respondents to the thread seem to have missed a few points in my original question, and have little knowledge of how school funding works.

I live in Kent. I do pay Kent council tax, and I pay income tax, and other indirect taxes. As far as I am aware I am no less entitled to cross a county border for schooling than anyone else. I do not worry about driving on roads in other counties, or being able to see after dusk thanks to another district's street lights. One of the respondents must enjoy a very limited live trying to restrict him or herself to the public services of his own council tax district.

If I could afford independent schooling from 5 to 18 for my children I am no less entitled to the services of a state school or grammar school than anyone else. It is a strange notion to consider that one should have to pay twice if one could afford to.

I am hoping for a school over the county border in Surrey as I live quite close to the county border. I really only have one Kent primary school that I am likely to get a place at as it is never full because it has some problems including some poor teaching - as acknowledged by both the head and ofsted. As a consequence results are not great - a very tiny percentage of children achieve Level 5 in maths for example.

One school across the border may have a place, but it is probably unlikely as there are many other people seeking to avoid my local Kent school. However, it occurred to me that it could be silly to choose a better school educationally, but then put one's child at a disadvantage in the 11+ because of the test arrangements (all four papers at once rather than spread over two days). It just seems odd that the same Kent child would have a different Kent 11+ experience depending on which state primary school they attended.

I do also consider it unfair that a Surrey or West Sussex child has different test conditions to a Kent child. I thought that there was a legal case many years ago that set a precedent that for school admissions purposes an admissions authority could not make distinctions between children according to which LEA area they live in. So I thought that different test conditions may contravene the precedent set by that case (I cannot remember the name).

I would still be interested in any responses to my original post.

With thanks

ps I do not resent people from across the border trying to get into Kent grammar schools. But I do find it frustrating that it is almost impossible to get into a very good Surrey comprehensive close to here, although we live closer to it than many Surrey children who do fall into the "priority admissions area".

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:05 am 
I don't think that sitting all the papers on one day is necessarily a disadvantage, particularly as this will probably be in a nice quiet test centre, surrounded by other children doing the same thing.

Children sitting the tests in Kent primaries do them as part of the normal school day. Anything may happen to upset them before or between tests and there is the distraction of the rest of their class (most of whom will probably not sit the tests) and of the other year groups. Not all schools will even be able to provide a quiet space for the tests themselves. Moreover, the invigilator will be from another school so there is not the advantage of familiarity or any particular feeling of support.

My child sat both the 11+ (at a Kent state primary) and a full day of exams (plus interview) on a Saturday at a private school (8:30 am until 4:00pm). The private set up was no more stressful or tiring than the 11+; in fact she thoroughly enjoyed it, as she did the subsequent scholarship recall tests which comprised, I think, about 3 solid hours of tests with only a few minutes between papers.

It could be that it is the Kent schooled children who are actually at a disadvantage. They have to crank themselves up twice, in less than ideal circumstances, and if the first papers go badly have the whole of the rest of the day and a night to worry themselves into a state before the next paper.

By the way other guest it does not follow that out-area candidates necessarily need higher scores than in-area. As far as I'm aware the only school which has seperate cut-offs is TGS, and this year the in-area candidates needed the higher scores!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:57 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
Posts: 960
I'm not going to get into the rights and wrongs of this, but I must correct a common misunderstanding. Out of area children do not have to sccore higher than in area children. The pass mark is the same. Some schools in Kent are superselectives - this means that to get into these schools children do have to get higher marks - but this applies to all applicants. Apart from these few schools the pass mark is the same for everyone. This year, children had to get 120, 120 and 115. to get a place at grammar schools.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:16 pm 
Thank you it was helpful to receive an opinion that it may be better to do all the Kent tests one day on a Saturday rather than over two days at school.

Please could someone whose child has done all the tests one Saturday tell me how the tests were spaced?

My initial reaction to the thought of having to do them all on one day is that a primary school child would not concentrate as well by the lthird and fourth test as they would if there were two on each day. But it is true they may be less nervous.

With thanks

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