Conservative Led Kent County Council have announced that the Conservative Government (department of Education) have removed the guidance from Local Authorities the ability to delay the selection tests. This is despite the huge disruption of learning and opportunities during the pandemic for children which is still ongoing that they wish to, again, put ideology before children.
Kent Labour believe that every child needs to be treated fairly based on their wide range of skills and knowledge gained throughout their primary education phase and if Kent wishes to continue using selective education then it has a duty of care to all children to ensure such a test is fair, open, inclusive, accessible and transparent.
County Councillor Alister Brady the Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Education and Skills says: ‘Any test should be a true reflection of the skills gained over a sustained period of time with everyone treated equally and fairly. This pandemic has exposed some of the deep rooted problems in Kent such as with poverty, including digital poverty and educational attainment and rather than helping to mitigate that and doing the right thing to, at the very least, postpone this test until they can prove all children have had the opportunity to catch up to pre pandemic levels the Conservative Administration together with Senior Officers at KCC are further entrenching this unfairness. We call on KCC to postpone this test and work with schools as well as children and the families to ensure that any such test reflect the need for fairness. If other systems are good enough for those at GCSE and A Level then what is the excuse this time here in Kent?’
Over this summer Kent County Council are planning to spend £10m on the Reconnect Programme to help young people catch up but serious questions surround its deployment and whether it will make a different. Kent Labour Group have supported plans for it to receive proper scrutiny. The Labour Group have published a detailed list of questions they believe need answering before the summer holiday.
County Councillor Dr Lauren Sullivan –Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Group at Kent County Council says “The fact that there are so many questions does call into question how this programme, while admirable in its aims, will be able to evidence the quality of delivery and sustainability of reconnecting children and young people with the possibility of snatching away this hope in 2022, when the program ends, along with the fear of all other universal open access children’s and youth provision being further eroded due to the continuing budget pressures.”