Medway Council 11-plus failures 'unacceptable'

A report into how the 11-plus examinations in Medway were conducted has identified "significant problems" at one of the test centres.

Medway Council carried out an investigation after parents complained about last month's tests.

The report found there had been insufficient staffing at Rainham School, which led to a 40-minute delay.

The school said it was asked only for premises. Organisation and admin was the council's responsibility.

Councillor Les Wicks, the cabinet member for children's services, said the problems with the test were "unacceptable".

"Everyone would agree we can't have the same thing happening again," he said.

"What I wanted to know was what went wrong and what are we going to do to make sure it never happens again."

Test paper mislaid

More than 2,000 children sat the tests on 24 September at 10 centres across Medway.

The report found that, as well as the delay at Rainham School for Girls, there had been a lack of refreshments and toilet facilities, and communication with parents had been poor.

Mr Wicks said while the problems were "regrettable", almost 50% of Rainham candidates passed the test.

The report also found there had been a 10-minute delay at Chatham Grammar School For Boys when the test paper was initially mislaid by an invigilator.

The 11-plus examination is taken by children in the last year of primary school, governing selection to the county's grammar schools.

Under the current system, primary school pupils are sent to nearby secondary schools to sit the test.

Mr Wicks said he would consider whether the tests should be held at children's own primary schools.

Sheila Mann, chair of the governors at Rainham School, said it was approached by the council on 8 August to provide extra accommodation as the number of parents requesting the test had been underestimated.

She said staff and the governors sympathised with parents and candidates over poor administration of the test.

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