Once again we are at that time of the year when our youngsters confront the Kent Test.
Some will pass, some will fail. Whoops, there’s a word we shouldn’t use. I meant some will not succeed: that’s less judgemental.
Predictably, there has been an outpouring of rage from people who are mostly not directly involved but who object to coaching for the test. You rather suspect that underlying their angst is a belief that there should not be any grammar schools and so no need for the test.
- £6 million rescue package for emergency units at east Kent hospitals
- City properties valued at eye-watering sums, but are they selling?
I would suggest that their ire is misdirected. Instead of criticising the test they should look closely at the three obstacles to children earning a place at a grammar school.
Firstly, let’s look at parents, too many of whom do not give their children the support they need at primary school age.
I can say that. I came from a working class background and my brothers and I all made it to grammar school. (I was one of only two in my class that did so).
We were not coached or crammed, but we did have parents who supported and encouraged us, who read with us. We had no television and social media hadn’t been invented so we talked and read together, sometimes encyclopaedias or books of knowledge as well fiction of which there was plenty of that in the house.
The point is that my parents took parenting seriously and recognised that for some years their desires and wants had to be parked and the children put first.
That, dear reader, is exactly what parents who pay for coaching are doing: putting their children’s futures above whatever else they could spend the money on. It is a small act of sacrifice.
Secondly, every junior school should prepare children properly. I’m not arguing for the kind of coaching and pressure that goes on at present because of the school’s desire to do well in the league tables.
No, what I’m suggesting is that schools should develop the abilities of their pupils and ignore the league tables which are meaningless to the children.
Those that have an academic bent can and should be enabled to sit the Kent Test, but there is no point putting others through the stress and schools should be willing to say to parents: “Sorry, not your child.” I know the best schools do this already so it’s not an overall criticism of schools.
Thirdly, if all the children who pass the test can’t get in to grammar schools the answer is simple: build more grammar schools.
The government is a bit chicken on this one because the bleeding heart liberal “it’s not fair” brigade who have managed to seize control of the argument. I firmly believe that all children should have the opportunity to attend a grammar school if they can pass the test. If that means more grammar schools let’s build them.
Let’s recognise the argument against the Kent Test for what it is: it’s those who wish to build a socialist society of absolute equality trying to exploit the educational system for social engineering and in the process damning those who simply want to do the best for their children. In other words, those who are aspiring to be good parents.