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Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:58

Medway Test and Review both discriminate sharply against boys and younger children

I have uncovered shocking statistics relating to the Medway Test for grammar school admission that show it both discriminates sharply against boys, as compared with girls, and also against younger children as against those born in the first half of the school year. Surely neither of these levels of discrimination should be acceptable to Medway Council or the families of the children so disadvantaged, especially younger boys who get caught both ways. ......


Back in May I published here, results of Kent Test and Medway Tests taken in September 2012, when candidates are separated by month of birth. In Kent, the month of birth makes little difference to the outcomes, boys performing better in the tests, girls making up the lost ground in Headteacher assessments. 

However, in Medway, there was a sharp distinction between girls and boys performance, with just 297 boys being assessed as of grammar school ability, as compared to an astonishing figure of 397 girls, a third as many again as the boys.  There is also a sharp distinction between older and younger children.

My assumption is that the overwhelming reason why boys underperform is because two fifths of the marks in the Medway Test are gained from a single piece of English work which tends to favour girls against boys. I have argued this for a number of years without success. As the English Test is not age standardised it also strongly favours the older children, as is evident from the results below. 

I also thought part of the age discrimination would be due to the Medway Review process which again is not age standardised. This is proved in the new figures I have obtained below which show that a child born in the first six months of the year is twice as likely to be selected for grammar school by the Review process as a younger child born in the second half of the school year.

Surely, these two types of discrimination should be brought to a swift halt and new methods of assessment for grammar school devised in Medway, to replace the current one that is clearly not  not fit for purpose as it is in both gender and age seriously discriminatory. A properly devised assessment process  would ensure that boys have a fair chance of earning a grammar school place alongside children born in the second half of the year. 

Medway 11 Plus Test results by month of birth
September 2000 - August 2001
% Year
Boys took
Medway Review
Girls took
Medway Review
Boys passed
Medway Review
Girls passed
Medway Review
Sep 71 9.4 26.9 8 12 1 13 5 17
Oct 58 7.7 13 14 5 2
Nov 74 9.8 5 19 1 4
Dec 73 9.7 28.3 6 8 3 3
Jan 62 8.2 9 9 2 0
Feb 79 10.5 5 11 1 3
Mar 61 8.1 21.9 8 7 1 6 1 9
Apr 44 5.8 11 6 2 1
May 60 7.9 6 9 1 2
Jun 58 7.7 22.9 12 11 1 4
July 63 8.3 4 8 1 1
Aug 52 6.9 6 6 0 0
TOTAL 755 100 93 120 19 26

Currently, with numbers of secondary aged children still falling in Medway, even after appeals there are vacancies in Medway  grammar schools. Rainham Mark Grammar School, which is mixed, has seen its popularity increase for September 2013 entry, and responded by putting on an additional class which has placed additional pressure elsewhere. The Howard School, technically bi-lateral, has seen its grammar school intake fade away to almost nothing, leaving just two boys' grammar schools in  Medway. Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School has seen its traditionally heavy oversubscription levels fade away to almost nothing so, for the first time in the past seven years it has picked up a significant number of non-selective boys on appeal. This has had a doubly devastating result on Chatham Grammar School for Boys which is now struggling to attract sufficient numbers, even after successful appeals. Responsibility for this serious problem lies squarely with Medway Council's retention of its current grammar school selection process with the bias against boys. . 

The additional 100 girls allocated to Medway slective schools eases considerably the effect of falling rolls on the three grammar schools. However, Rochester Grammar School, which has traditionally recruited high scoring girls, has seen its cut off score dip to accepting girls scoring below the basic pass rate of 509 in Medway, who were found selective through the Review process. Fort Pitt Grammar School was not full before appeals, and Chatham Grammar School for Girls still has vacancies after appeals. If the boy/girl balance is equalised  then, until numbers pick up again in around five years time, there will also be plenty of places for girls and inevitably chances at appeal will increase.

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 22:38


  • Comment Link Friday, 12 September 2014 11:03 posted by J

    Do you know what percentage of children in Kent grammar schools are July and August born?

    I would imagine it is higher than average.

    Children born in these months have a unfair chance of getting to grammar school because of the standarised scores. It surprises me because all children start school at the same time (the autumn) whether they are born in March or October. Furthermore sats, GCSE's, A levels, university degrees and job interviews don't favour July and August born children. PETER: You are correct. You will find a link to the full statistics for birth months for the 2012 Test in the Kent Grammar School Section from 'Secondary School Admissions' on the right of this page. However, I don't accept your belief that this is caused by standardisation which should produce a similar outcome for all age groups. My suspicion is that the difference is introduced in the 4% admitted through Headteacher Assessmentl as heads seek to compensate for perceived disadvantage in younger age groups. I have seen a number of references to this in reports from HTAs. If one wants to be picky, why do November births do better than August? The real shocker is in the Medway Test where both boys do much worse than girls and younger children much worse than older!

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:05 posted by Lenny

    For Rainham Mark GS to open up a further Y7 class in September is absurd.

    Already there are children in current classes who barely scraped a pass or didn't at all, who got in for some other reason and don't really want to be there.

    This creates problems in class for the pupils who are motivated to work hard and makes a mockery of the so-called selection process.

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