Kent County Council confirms review on 11+ coaching ban

Image caption,
There are more than 40 independent primary or "prep" schools in Kent

A ban on in-school coaching for the 11+ exam will be reviewed, Kent County Council has confirmed.

The confirmation comes a day after the BBC revealed some fee-paying primary schools in Kent were tutoring pupils.

A council spokesman said: "There will be a review but we don't have any dates or timings for discussions."

Head teacher Caroline Bromley of Lamberhurst Primary in Kent said she was "disappointed this hasn't been dealt with before".

Currently in-school coaching is banned, in an attempt to level the playing field for grammar school access across independent and state primaries.

But an undercover BBC reporter posing as a parent visited 10 fee-paying primary schools in Kent and found nine were helping pupils prepare for the test.

A spokesman for Kent County Council said: "There will be a review but we don't have any dates or timings for discussions, debates, decisions, as this has only been decided since [council leader] Paul Carter expressed his opinion to [the BBC] yesterday."

Image caption,
Mr Carter said there should be a review, on the day the BBC revealed its findings

In that interview he said there should be a review, adding: "Why shouldn't local schools, as well as private schools, be able to coach?"

He added later: "I think that we need to clarify what we mean by coaching, and another term that is used is, familiarisation.

"We are trying to make sure that the Kent test doesn't allow for coaching to be a determinate in the outcome of the 11+"

Head teacher of Lamberhurst Primary in Kent, Ms Bromley, said: "Many years ago, all children took the test and the familiarisation, the verbal and non verbal reasoning activities, were part of the curriculum. And that makes a level playing field.

"As soon as it was an optional activity then the gloves are off and people are going to want to try to do the best for their children."

However, she expressed concern that going forward schools might have to gear resources "when budgets are tight - towards a very small minority."

"That's actually not fair. I think it should be for all children or kept out of schools," she said.

BBC South East's Inside Out was broadcast on BBC One at 19:30 BST on Monday 3 September

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