Kent Education Network is a community campaign group championing progressive, equal and excellent education in the county of Kent.
Kent is one of the few counties in the UK that still operates an eleven-plus. In the last year of primary school children are judged by the Kent Test as ‘suitable for grammar school’ or ‘suitable for high school’. We do not believe this one-off test to define children’s education pathways makes any sense in our modern world.
KEN aims to promote academic achievement by opposing the county’s academic selective system; the group aims to improve education outcomes for more young people in Kent through fair, ambitious education that does not divide children aged eleven.
- The Kent Test is unreliable, unscientific, and labels children in a way that is unhelpful to their future ambitions. Dividing children with a test at ten is unnecessary and harmful. The 11-plus test supports a belief that ability is fixed; this simply isn’t true, high quality education and hard work mean any child can succeed at school.
- Academic selection reduces parental choice and rations academic education to just 25% of Kent children. It is not fair to base a child’s chance of a good school on a one-off test, and the percentage Kent uses is based on 1960s university rates, it’s a nonsense now that 45% of children go to university.
- The system of education operating in Kent is not used in most of the UK, yet there is no effective democratic way to seek a change to our county’s two-tier education system. Kent county council haven’t reviewed or consulted on their school system since it was set up in 1944!
- Our education system encourages a class divide. Wealthier parents, understandably, pay for test tuition, and the numbers of disadvantaged pupils passing the test are low. We believe every child deserves a good education, but our system limits the opportunity for poorer children and benefits wealthy parents.
- Kent’s education system produces no better results for our children. Kent’s progress results at secondary level are below the national average, while our attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils is one of the worst in the country.
- Children’s friendships are broken up by our school divide. The artificial divide created by the Kent Test means that children are less likely to go to school with their friends. The stress and judgement of the Kent Test is unnecessary, children can be educated successfully together, just as they are in 90% of the country.
KEN’s campaign activities include:
- Researching the effects of the eleven-plus and the selective school system in Kent.
- Challenging Kent County Council and the Department for Education to create fair admissions policies and access to good schools for all children. No state secondary schools should be out of bounds to our children based on a flawed and old fashioned ‘ability’ judgement.
- Supporting local democracy to enable parents and concerned citizens to have a say on our county’s system of education.
- Raising awareness of the effects of test selection and promoting the benefits of excellent mixed ability education.
The Kent Education Network (KEN) involves students, parents, teachers, governors, and education professionals. If you care about Kent education we hope you will join our campaign. Show your support for fair education and register as a member below!