Medway Council’s Cabinet have agreed proposals for the Medway Test to be undertaken in primary schools for the majority of children, rather than in independent test centres.

The council’s Cabinet met on Tuesday, 14 February, to discuss the proposals for the testing of children attending Medway maintained primary and junior schools and Medway independent schools on a school day in their own schools, following a two month long consultation.

The proposals formed part of an annual admissions consultation, which seeks the views of parents, carers and schools on admissions arrangements into primary and secondary schools.

Under the plans approved by Cabinet, pupils taking the test this year can do so at their own schools over two days on Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 September, although it is up to each individual school whether they opt into these new arrangements.

The consultation ran from Friday, 18 November until Friday 13 January and set out key dates for the application process for entry into primary and secondary schools in 2013.

The consultation documents were circulated to primary schools, children’s centres and nurseries across Medway as well as being freely available on the Medway website for parents to read and respond, and 147 responses were received, 133 of which supported the option for the testing of Medway children to be undertaken in primary schools, rather than independent test centres.

Other issues addressed in the consultation that were approved by Cabinet members included increasing the published admissions number of children at five primary schools in Medway and changes to the criteria for entry into community and voluntary controlled schools, including the number of children who can be admitted.

The council will now contact all primary and junior schools in Medway to inform them of the decision and ask whether they will opt into the new arrangements.

Full details of the test arrangements will be included in the council’s admissions guide for parents, which will be published in June this year.

If a school opts out of the new arrangements, testing for children attending those schools would need to take place in an independent test centre on Saturday 22 September, alongside children from out of the area.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Cllr Les Wicks, said: “Our main concern is always to do what is best for Medway children and I’m glad to see support for the proposal to return the test to local schools.

“By moving the test back to primary schools, I believe children will be able to benefit from taking the test in a familiar environment where they are more likely to perform to the best of their abilities.”

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