The never-ending Kent Test

The never-ending Kent Test

As I write this, the weekend before children in Year 6 in Kent sit their 11+, thoughts are already turning to the next cohort, now starting in Year 5. Welcome, we might say to them, not only to the rigours of Upper Primary Maths and English, but also to the world of Non-Verbal Reasoning – NVR – never before (and in most cases, never subsequently) required.

Having been kept occupied throughout the summer rehearsing fractions, decimals, spellings and comprehensions with this year’s candidates – among whom there has run a redeeming thrill of enthusiasm – I can almost wish that 10 September would make an end for me as for the parents and students involved. 

But the new Year 5 presses forward, and the urgency and anxiety that surrounds the Kent Test passes swiftly from one year’s parents and children to the next.

For those parents who may be seeking an insight into the workings of the Test for the possible future benefit of their children – and/ or  perhaps in order to understand the history, or question the fairness, of the exercise – a public event is coming up in Maidstone next month that may be worth attending. 

I reproduce the following notice from the National Tutoring Conference website:

11 Plus, Kent Test, Conference
21st October 2015,
5 pm – 7.30 pm 
County Hall, 
Maidstone, ME14 1XQ

The conference will discuss the current structure and lessons to be learned from the new Kent 11 plus, together with tests for admission for some local grammar schools.

Speakers confirmed:

Peter Read: Retired grammar school headteacher. Education Consultant and writer on education in Kent, focusing on school admissions and appeals.

Matthew Bartlett: Headteacher Dover Grammar School for Girls; Outstanding OFSTED; regularly one of the highest Kent grammar performers at GCSE and A Level

Emma Hickling: Headteacher, Kingswood Primary School, Maidstone, and Executive Head of two other primary schools with wide experience of secondary transfer and appeals.

Marylyn Atkins: Retired grammar school headteacher; independent appeal panel administrator having organised appeals at six Kent grammar schools.

The Conference will take place a week after the second ‘new’ Kent Test results are published and there will be some opportunities to discuss individual cases in the last half hour at least.  

The conference is raising money for the children’s mental health charity, ‘ Charlie Waller Memorial Trust’. 

Of these speakers I have previously heard, and can recommend, Peter Read, who is informed on a full range of Kent Test statistics (see blog alongside for April 2015). Looking at the panel overall, I doubt whether more experience will have ever been assembled before to ruminate publicly over the Kent Test – it should be a revealing occasion. 

For information how to obtain a ticket:  and #Kenttest