Interviewed in Kent Online, Thanet councillor, Chris Wells, KCC’s cabinet member for children, families and educational standards, believes the county could be doing more to encourage children from poorer backgrounds to take the 11-plus.
Cllr Wells said he was concerned that in less well-off parts of the county, fewer pupils were encouraged to take the 11-plus than elsewhere.
His comments come after the former Conservative education spokesman David Willetts ditched the party’s long-standing support for grammar schools, saying they no longer helped poorer pupils.
In an interview with the Kent Messenger Group, Cllr Wells said: "One thing that does seem to me to be quite clear is that in areas of social disadvantage and deprivation, we are not getting the numbers of children to take the 11-plus that we should be, particularly in parts of Thanet, Dover and Swale.
"Whether that is a confidence issue with the parents, children or teachers I am not sure but certainly there is something there that does need looking at."
He stopped short of saying where the fault lay but made clear he expected all schools to do what they could to offer the same opportunities to all children, regardless of their background.
"It is [about]trying to ensure we bring those children through, who are bright but perhaps come from homes where books are relatively rare; where the idea of doing homework is relatively rare and the idea of succeeding at school is something they do not see in their immediate family around them."