In a recent interview with Theresa May, BBC‘s Nick Robinson made reference to Kent schools during a discussion about grammar schools. Saying: “The highest number of underperforming schools in the UK is in Kent where they have grammar schools.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.
This was a rather clumsy use of statistics because Kent is also the largest county council in the UK and any comparison of numbers is clearly going to be distorted by the size of our county.
Education standards in Kent schools have significantly improved in the last five years and now place Kent at or above the national average at every key stage of a child’s education.
- 58.6% of Kent pupils achieved 5 GCSE’s A*- C grades including English and maths, compared with the national average (state funded schools) of 57.0%.
- The provisional average Attainment 8 score per pupil, which is the new measure introduced this year, shows Kent schools at 50.3, compared with all other state schools at 49.9.
- The number of key stage 2 pupils achieving the expected standard in English Reading, English Writing and Mathematics is 5% ahead of the national average.
- At Key stage 1 Kent children have been improving faster than the national rate of improvement since 2013 and results in Kent are now 5% above of national in mathematics, 4% ahead in English Reading and 6% ahead in English Writing.
- Results for the youngest children at foundation stage have also seen an improvement. Children assessed to have a good level of development is 5.5% above the national level.
- Overall 90% of our schools are now rated good or outstanding by Ofsted which is 1% above the national average of 89%. This is made up of:
- 85.4% of all secondary schools
- 78% of non-selective secondary schools in Kent
- 90.6% of primary schools
- 100% of special schools
- 85.7% of pupil referral units
- 96.7% of Early Years settings
Paul Carter, the Leader of Kent County Council said: “We have worked tirelessly to improve standards in all Kent schools at every stage and we are very proud of what we have achieved.
“We are all born with different skills, talents and abilities. A good school’s system should build on the strengths of all young people, allowing them to strive and reach their full potential to succeed in life.
“In Kent we have grammar schools and they do an excellent job stretching the most academically able. They provide an essential vehicle for social mobility for both the much-maligned middle class as well as the less well-off children to compete in the top professions, which are currently dominated by the privately educated.
“Here in Kent we don’t mind any challenge to the performance of our schools since no one is tougher on our need to lift school standards than I am, but it’s got to be done fairly and that means looking at figures that can genuinely be compared to other areas.
“Of course, any county with a thriving and popular grammar school system will find that it ends up with a higher number of schools in the higher echelons of performance. What we’re trying to do is ensure that the best education is delivered to more and more students.”