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Pupil Performance (Kent)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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What comparison he has made of pupil performance at key stage 2 in Kent with performance among (a) comparator authorities and (b) English authorities generally. [108248]

In 2002, Kent's key stage 2 results in English, maths and science were just below the national average, and were below those of similar authorities.

Is that not pretty awful? Of course, it has come about because teachers, instead of doing what they want to do in the final year of key stage 2, have to coach the 11-plus. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been reported this week in Kent newspapers as saying that he has no plans to scrap selection. Given that, as we now know, we get worse results at A-level than do non-selective areas, worse results at GCSE than do non-selective areas, a higher proportion of failing secondary schools than do non-selective areas, and, now, worse results at key stage 2 than do non-selective areas, is it not about time that we made some plans to scrap selection?

The Government do not support extension of the 11-plus, as my hon. Friend knows. However, in the end it must be for local people to make decisions about the future of school organisation in their areas. The issue must be the standards to which he refers, and I commend him for the work that he is doing to ensure that the debate is about standards and not about ideology.