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Wednesday, 20 October 2021 06:00

Kent Test 2021: Initial Results, Comment and Advice


Article on School Appeal Outcomes for 2021 here

Updated and revised 27 October, with further data provided by KCC. 

Headline News: 190 more Kent state school boys passed the Kent Test than last year whilst the number of girls qualifying for a grammar school place fell by 52. For the first time in several years, boys secured most passes, 2325 against the girls 2185. The shift in passes from East Kent to West Kent is reported to have continued. 

The Kent Test results have again produced a pass mark with an aggregate score of 332, with an additional requirement to score 109 on each of the three sections - English, mathematics, and reasoning, one up on last year’s individual test pass mark.  The level of pass marks is no indication of difficulty in the Test, rather a complex standardisation of raw scores against a national sample of children, comparing like ages with each other. This year 25.8% of the cohort, comprising all of Kent’s Year six children in primary schools, added to all Kent private school pupils who took the Test, were found selective. This is up from last year’s 25.4%, but down on 2019’s 26.6%. The intention is to select 21% of the cohort through the Kent Test each year, along with another four percent by Headteacher Assessment, as explained here, making up a target of 25%.

The number of state school children taking the Kent Test has risen by 474 this year, the increase being mainly boys, but is still not back to the number in 2019. I don't at present know what to make of the shift from girls to boys qualifying for grammar school.

3113 children from Out of County and other groups such as those being home educated were also found selective, up from 3062 last year,  although these turned into just 460 offers of Kent grammar school places.  

I have been told that the differential between pass rates in East and West Kent has widened further, as discussed extensively in previous articles, most recently at Covid-19 and the Kent Grammar School Selection Process for 2022 Entry’, but as yet have no confirmation of this.  This results from KCC’s failure to compensate for the effects of Covid on ‘ordinary’ and disadvantaged families in the selection process. I have still to learn the detail of this but have been told for example, that in Swale, an area with a high number of socially disadvantaged families, the pass rate is again lower. I have talked with a number of school leaders in the East of the county and according to them, along with many reports in the media, there is no doubt that pupil absence, teacher absence and other factors over the past two years have played havoc with the learning of too many children, many of whom have the ability to thrive in grammar schools but have now been denied a place.

Please note that this article was initially produced to meet the deadline for secondary school admissions and will be revised as I learn more details. I explore further below all the matters in this introduction, along with sections on Sources of Information and Advice on admissions and appeals, Out of County Children, Pressure Points and Finally

Whilst you will find the initial information provided in the KCC press release hereKent County Council has now published additional data here, which gives the performance of boys and girls separately achieving each aggregate score in the Kent Test, divided into those who have passed, and those who didn't pass. It also separates out state school children from those in Kent private schools, which I have incorporated into the introduction above. 

As always, the presence of Kent children attending Kent private schools presents a difficulty in analysing the data. Because the number of pupils in private schools is not known by KCC, the data uses the number of children in those schools who are taking the test as its baseline. This, therefore, skews the calculation and statistics. It would be much better to consider only children in state schools to get a realistic picture of what is going on and to set the target pass rate, as Medway now does, having made the change a few years back. I don't yet know the gender breakdown of children in the whole cohort, so there are more results to come.  

I have recently published an article here that provides links to all the relevant information and advice on secondary transfer and appeals on this website.

In response to multiple enquiries each year you cannot: appeal the Kent Test Results; or challenge a Head Teacher Assessment; or arrange a late HTA.  What you can do if your child has not been found of selective ability and you are looking for a grammar place is to apply for one or more grammar schools and then appeal against the decision of the school to turn your child down. You will find the parallel article for the Medway test here

Please do not try and post comments about individual situations as I am afraid I have retired from offering personal advice on or off-line. I am of course happy to respond to more general matters. 

KCC will have made individual test scores available to parents who registered online, on Thursday 21st October. As last year, I  shall be publishing a second article later when I receive more data from KCC. I find that the information articles in my round-up article and in the information articles on the website (right-hand side of this article and most pages of the website) with links below, answer the majority of questions I receive. 

Although KCC cannot guarantee every Kent child who has passed a place in a Kent grammar school (and not necessarily of their choice), there were few reported cases in recent years of grammar qualified Kent children who were looking for a place not being offered one. Further thoughts below. 

Last year in an interview with Radio Kent, the then Cabinet Member for Education, Richard Long considered that the proportions of children being found selective from different areas of the county, different types of school, and background such as Pupil Premium were similar to 2020, which all proved false, as shown here

Kent Test Results for Kent Children 2021-2019
  2021 2020  2019
  Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls
State School
5169 5297  4858  5134  5224  5469
 State Passes 2325 2185 2135 2237 2185 2300
% Pass Rate
24.3%   23.3% 25.0% 24.1% 26.1%
School Passes
465    258 250   258  198
Sat Kent Test  11099    5212  5506  5592  5770
Assessed Suitable
For Grammar
Admission 2022
4975    2393  2487  2443  2498
% Pass Rate 25.8%    25.1%  25.8%  26.1% 27.2% 
Some 350 additional children are eligible for a single grammar school through success in the Dover, Shepway, Mayfield (Gravesend Girls) or Highsted (Sittingbourne Girls) Tests.
Notes: (1) I will add in missing data when it becomes available       
           (2) Some totals will change, as late adjustments are made.
           (3) Several of the figures give inconsistent totals, but come from different KCC sets of data. 
Next PageSources of Information and Advice on admissions and appeals, Out of County Children, and Pressure Points and Finally.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 02 November 2021 06:42


  • Comment Link Wednesday, 27 October 2021 13:32 posted by azik

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the response.

    I was wondering if there is a Kent regional breakdown like they used to provide in previous years? I see they aggregate it into gender/Kent mainstrea/OOC only in the official spreadsheet now and wonder if there is a different source of higher granularity data available? PETER: See previous comment

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 27 October 2021 10:19 posted by azik

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the breakdown.

    In the official data set they put kids into just two buckets (apart from gender), these are:
    - Kent Mainstream
    - OOC/Kent Independent/Miscellaneous

    Could you please tell how did you deduct Kent Private values? PETER: My first table in the latest revision above gives data for all Kent schools (including private) from press release. I deduct one from the other. The tables will not be quite accurate yet, as there will be late data, and Home Educators to feed in..
    I am awaiting results of a more detailed FOI, which I will publish on receipt.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 26 October 2021 14:38 posted by azik

    Data's been released.> PETER: Thank you. I am currently incorporating this into my article.

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