Private schools break Kent Test rules with extra coaching

Private schools are breaking the rules to give students an unfair advantage in competing for grammar school places, a BBC investigation has found.

Secret filming at 10 fee-paying primary schools in Kent found nine were tutoring pupils for the 11+ exam.

In-school coaching is banned by the council, to level the playing field across independent and state primaries. But a reporter posing as parent found private schools running extra classes and summer schools purely on the exam.

Also referred to locally as the Kent Test or Medway Test, it consists of English, maths and reasoning and this year’s exam is being held on Thursday, 6 September.

The best performers will be offered places at grammar schools, which generally outperform their non-selective counterparts.

Labour’s shadow schools minister Mike Kane MP said: “The selective education system in England is not working effectively. It doesn’t select by ability, it selects by income, the socio-economic status of a family.”

The county council said it would “always look at any firm evidence that suggests a school may have engaged in coaching” and schools found in breach of the rules could be banned from holding future exams.

Three were warned about coaching by the council in 2016, but no further action was taken and the council has never banned a school from holding the exam.

Read more Private schools break Kent Test rules with extra coaching

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