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Thursday, 28 January 2021 17:47

Kent Test and Headteacher Assessment for Entry in September 2021: Further Analysis


This article follows on from my previous: ‘Kent Test 2020, Initial Results and Comment’, published in October and is written in the shadow of issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Evidence for KCC’s commitment to do 'All That is Practical and Possible to Address all Forms of Disadvantage' is hard to find. I have, for the first time, separated out the performance of Kent state and privately educated children, who in many cases will have had a different experience of schooling in this unique year.
The main outcomes include, for Kent state school children:
A fall of nearly 10% in the number of both boys and girls taking the Kent Test.
A fall from 25.1% to 24.1% in the number of state school children being found of grammar school masks the  8% decline in the boys’ success rate, by a total of 165 boys,  with the number of successful girls increasing by 52.
A fall of 9% in the Headteacher Assessment pass rate is equally spread across boys and girls, but girls continue to have the highest referral and pass rates with 10% of girls in Canterbury succeeding at HTA, as usual by some way the highest rate in Kent.
The biggest district falls in pass rates are in Dover, Gravesham, Swale and Thanet, all areas of higher than average social deprivation. 
Not for the first time, St Joseph's Catholic Primary in Northfleet is amongst the usual crop of West Kent schools with the highest pass rate in the county, along this year with Blean and Wickhambreux in Canterbury, Bodsham CofE in Ashford, Sheldwich near Faversham and Tunstall in Sittingbourne.   
60 more girls, privately educated in Kent schools, were found selective than in 2019  contributing to an increase from 9.2% to 10.4% of successful candidates coming from private schools. There has also been a large increase in the number of out of county girls taking and passing the Kent Test. 
In summary, girls especially those privately educated, have done best out of the altered arrangements, whilst children in less prosperous areas have fared less well.I look more closely at these and other outcomes, including results for out of county children, the effect of coronavirus on grammar school appeals, and KCCs failure to release data about the performance of children attracting Pupil Premium, all below.
My articles last summer on 2020 allocations to grammar schools, and here on grammar school appeals, provide a considerable background to this subject. After the general comments immediately below, you will find further sections on additional pages, from the following links.
The Kent Test pass mark is set to give an overall selective assessment of 25% of the following population. The database comprises all Year Six children in Kent state schools added to those entered for the Kent Test from private schools in the county. The pass mark required an aggregate score of 332, slightly higher than last year, with an additional requirement to score 108 on each of the three sections - English, mathematics, and reasoning, producing 20.0% of the population, with an additional 5.8% through the HTA, giving a total pass rate of 25.9%, slightly down on last year’s  26.6%.No matter what difficulties were thrown up by the pandemic, approximately the same proportion are found selective each year, so it is not possible to determine whether the process was more challenging or not. 
The two tables below show more detailed outcomes for the two sectors, the main features being the significantly increased proportion of girls being found selective in both sectors,  especially in the much smaller private sector. This may be a reflection of a more mature work ethic of girls at this age, and of the effect of social disadvantage in the state sector.

The pass mark is sufficient for entrance to the majority of Kent grammar schools, apart from seven that require higher marks for all or most of their entrants. The required marks for the latter vary according to demand each year and will be reported in March in my initial secondary allocations article.  Further places are awarded at the six schools which run local tests (see below) and can also be awarded to individual schools by the appeal process. My article on Appeals reports on 2020 outcomes, alongside the Individual Schools section which gives 2020 appeal data for every secondary school that held appeals, and I have also included a section on this year's appeals process below.   

Pupil Premium 
In previous years the Kent FOI team have been able to supply me with data on Pupil Premium performance at this time but apparently, due to an oversight, they were not aware that they had previously matched the data in their possession.  As a result,  I am having to wait until March to establish the effect of coronavirus on the performance of disadvantaged children. I am assured this was an accident, although will look at this in more detail in a later article.  I have made my views clear, that the failure to make changes to the selection process for 2021 entry will have penalised disadvantaged and 'ordinary' children, and there is already some evidence of this in the current article. The delay in providing relevant data will inevitably put off and diminish potential criticism of further evidence to that effect.
There is one area where I am pleased to see KCC has given positive advice to support these children and that is in a document relating to HTA, sent to primary headteachers. This gives them advice on what to put on the PESE  4 sheet which accompanies school work to the HTA hearing. It reads:

Advice to Primary Headteachers for the Headteacher Assessment

The PESE 4,  Headteacher assessment form, has been emailed to you.  If you have evidence which you believe indicates that a pupil has been inappropriately assessed, you may use PESE 4 to refer the assessment to an assessment panel, which will consider your comments, the evidence you submit and the writing exercise for the child in question. I have been asked to remind all Heads to have particular regard to the interests of any potential grammar school candidates from disadvantaged groups, such as children in care or those eligible for free school meals.

However, I have seen no parallel advice to HTA Panellists to take note of this. 
Next: Kent Test Pass and Overall Selection Rate

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Last modified on Monday, 08 February 2021 15:05

1 comment

  • Comment Link Friday, 05 February 2021 23:35 posted by Anju

    How are children doing from Non Kent Primary schools? As the exams dates different for Kent and Non Kent pupils , are the papers of similar standard or do they differ in assessing children?

    We are non Kent , specifically aiming Tunbridwells area. Any advice is greatly appreciated and received preciously.

    Thank you. PETER: Sorry I only advise Kent families. However, the answers are not difficult to find.

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