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Kent Secondary School Admissions 2015

    Index

     Last Updated: June 2014:

    Please note that this section is rather lengthy, and hence is spread across several pages. You will find the links below.

    It is designed primarily for parents resident in Kent, whose children will be transferring to state secondary schools in September 2014. Parents considering a grammar school application should also look at the pages on Kent and Medway Grammar School Admissions and Medway Secondary School Admissions.

    Kent Schools

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    .

    There is more information, advice and comment on the School Admission Code page.  

    I have wide experience of the secondary school transfer schemes in Kent and Medway, and am happy to place my expertise at your service, advising on choice of schools and patterns of application, drawing on my extensive local knowledge of the area and its schools. I give talks for parents at several Kent primary and secondary schools by invitation, and am also happy to talk with groups of parents, as well as individuals. For admissions you may well find my telephone consultation service useful.

    You will find the full details of the Kent Secondary transfer scheme together with next year's oversubscription rules for individual Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools on the KCC website here (secondary determined scheme for 2014). You will also find the admission rules for  each school for 2014 entry, and in the Spring any proposed changes for individual schools for 2015. I have simplified the regulations here.  

    For parents applying for any school in Kent outside the normal admission round there is yet another new process for admissions, but one far simpler than the previous  model. Simply download an In Year Casual Application Form and send it to the school you are applying to. You will find further details here.
     
    I liked the basic advice guide issued by parents at Kingshill Primary School.  You will find a simple comparative guide at SchoolGuide.co.uk
     

    THE KENT ADMISSION SCHEME

    The scheme operates for Kent residents, no matter where the schools for which they are applying are situated, and refers to entry in September 2015.

    TIMETABLE

    Key ActionScheme Date
    Registration for testing opensMonday 2 June 2014
    Closing date for registrationTuesday 1 July 2014
    Test date for pupils in Kent primary schoolsWednesday 10 September 2014
    Test date for out of county pupilsSaturday 13 September 2014
    Assessment decision sent to parentsWednesday 15 October 2014
    National Closing Date for Secondary Common Application Forms (SCAF)Friday 31 October 2014
    Final closing date for exceptional late applications.Wednesday 5 November 2014
    National Offer Day: e-mails sent after 4pm and letters sent 1st class postMonday 2 March 2015
    Schools send out welcome letters Not beforeThursday 5 March 2015
    Date by which places should be accepted or declinedFriday 20 March 2015
    LA re-allocates places that have become available from the schools' waiting listsWednesday  22 April 2015 

    In each Local Authority (LA), an admissions booklet will be issued at the beginning of September and published on their website. There is now a national closing date for applications  although grammar school registration process and dates and testing dates differ. Each LA has some differences in procedure, for example Kent parents have four choices, and Medway parents have six choices. These booklets contain details of the all important oversubscription rules, which determine if you will be offered a place if too many people apply.  Do not try and take part in the process without the relevant admissions booklet to guide you. At the time of writing, the 2015 Admissions Booklet for Kent secondary schools has not been published, but the 2014 version is here. You will find Medway's 2014 booklet here

    It is essential that all parents, who are considering entering their child for the Kent tests, register their child on a form obtainable from the primary school or Kent Website,  or online. Your child cannot take the Kent tests if he or she has not been registered. You will not be considered for a grammar school if your child has not sat the Kent tests and they will only be able to take the test late, after 23rd April and be considered as a late applicant whether or not the school is named on the SCAF. Copies of the registration form will be distributed through primary schools and can be downloaded here.

    There is nothing to lose by entering your child for the tests. Parents in Kent living near the Medway border may also wish to consider entering their child for the Medway tests, which assesses children on different skills. Further details of Kent grammar school admissions are here.

    You will find some possible scenarios on the next page.


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    Last modified on Monday, 23 March 2015 14:55

    Latest News & Comments

    Just click on a news item below to read it in full. Feel free to subscribe to the news via the email link to the right or the RSS Feed at the bottom of the page. Please note that the 800 or so regular subscribers who receive each news item directly are not included in the number of readers recorded below the item. If you have a view on any item posted, please leave a comment. Also feel free to suggest items of news, or areas where comment is needed to: peter@kentadvice.co.uk. \nNews items appear as and when I have time in a very busy schedule supporting clients.

    • OFSTED Publish Critical Report on School Improvement in Medway

      OFSTED has published a critical Report into Medway Council's arrangements for supporting school improvement following years of underperformance, declining on an annual basis to last year’s nadir of being bottom Local Authority in the country out of 152 for primary schools in OFSTED assessments, although rising to the dizzy heights of 137th in Key Stage 2 outcomes. By contrast, overall Medway's secondary schools that are all academies and out of Medway Council control perform well on both counts.

      The Council has a new school improvement strategy, but the Report records it does not: identify clearly enough what needs to change to drive improvement; show how significant gaps will be closed for underachieving schools; provide sufficient detail of targets for improvement to measure success; identify clearly enough how school improvement staff will be held to account for the impact of their work. Without these vital elements it is difficult to see how significant improvement can be achieved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Good points include: the work of the early years team; recent school improvement work showing some results, but much of this is too recent to see its full impact; the work of the new interim assistant director for school effectiveness and inclusion, appointed a year ago, noting that her actions are starting to have an impact but limited by available expertise in Medway primary schools; School Leaders and governors who spoke to inspectors report a step change in the local authority's approach.

      As a result, Ofsted will continue to monitor the local authority’s arrangements for school improvement. These arrangements are likely to be re-inspected within two years.

      I look at the situation in more detail below, including the effect on some individual primary schools........

      Read more...
      Written on Thursday, 18 June 2015 19:16 Be the first to comment! Read 208 times
    • Exams: Cheating the System: Kings Farm and Whitehill Primary Schools, Gravesend

      Updated: 28th June

       Earlier this month, Channel Four showed a Dispatches programme entitled “Exams: cheating the system”. Whilst the programmeinvestigated how some teachers and pupils cope with the pressure of examinations by bending the rules or cheating the system, this article is concerned with the section that focused on the Early Years and KS2 issues at a Kent primary school, Kings Farm Primary in Gravesend.

      It is important to stress that the programme attached no fault whatever to the current staff, the school being led between January and July 2014 by an Executive Headteacher appointed by Kent County Council, who shared her responsibilities with her home school, the neighbouring Whitehill Primary. She was subsequently removed from Kings Farm by KCC, after which she  returned full-time to Whitehill.

      There was a follow up in the Gravesend Messenger on 25th June, based on a frightening and convincing grievance procedure submitted by nine staff members and upheld by governors following an investigation by KCC Personnel Services. The grievance has now been circulated in the public domain, and the response by governors identifies: serious concerns about safeguarding and health and safety; concerns about treatment of children with SEN; concerns about relationships with parents; serious concerns about interactions with children and their well being; serious concerns about the curriculum and assessment; concerns about disability discrimination; serious concerns about relationships with staff, bullying and intimidation; serious concerns about the overall running of the school and serious concerns about the destruction of documents. As the executive headteacher, who has returned to Whitehill Primary and who refused to co-operate with the investigation, and a senior member of staff who is now employed full-time by Whitehill Primary were no longer employed by the school when this response was sent, no direct formal action has taken place. However, the response, sent in February 2015, notes that in view of the serious concern expressed about some of the allegations KCC intended to take the matter further.  

      After an investigation, the Standards & Testing Agency had “concerns over how all of the tests were administered and has doubt over the validity of the tests, including the mathematics tests. The team has therefore made the decision to annul all tests for all children”. When the Head of School at Kings Farm during the period in question was replaced, she then went to work at Whitehill.The KS2 test results were also annulled for the children at Whitehill. A separate investigation by KCC into events at Kings Farm decided that after the authority “found evidence of inappropriate behaviour during the assessments, the leadership team of the school was replaced”. KCC regards what happened as a “a serious breach of professional misconduct”. KCC has confirmed that investigations by the appropriate national bodies are still ongoing.  The full statement by KCC to the programme is at the foot of this article.

      Because Whitehill Primary is an academy, KCC has no authority there and I have no knowledge of what if any action has taken place as a result of maladministration at the school. 

      I have covered the background in previous articles and look at the issues in more detail below....

      Read more...
      Written on Thursday, 11 June 2015 23:02 1 comment Read 735 times
    • Oversubscription and Vacancies for Medway Primary Schools for Admission September 2015

      There has been an effective increase of 50 Reception places in Medway Primary schools for admission in 2015, although with an increase of 144 in the number of pupils admitted there is further pressure on spaces. However, my perception is that there are actually fewer issues this year, as parents have perhaps chosen more realistically and spread their preferences across a wider range of schools. Indeed, I reported earlier this year on the overall picture which saw more Medway children gaining their first choice than in 2014. Of course, none of this helps the 126 children who have been offered none of their choices, over a third of them in Strood.

      Pressure is greatest overall in Rainham, with just 6 spaces in its 7 schools.

      St Marys catholic Gillingahm       

      Most popular school in Medway is St Mary’s Catholic Primary, turning away 32 first choices, followed by: Hilltop (29); Brompton-Westbrook and The Pilgrim both 25; Balfour Infants and St Margaret at Troy Town CofE, both 24, All Faiths Children Community (23); and Cliffe Woods (22).

      All Hallows Primary Academy has 67% of its spaces empty, followed by the new Hundred of Hoo Primary Academy with 50%, Twydall Primary 32% and New Horizons Academy in Chatham with 30%.

      You will find a picture of the 2014 situation here.

      I look more closely at each district below....

      Read more...
      Written on Monday, 15 June 2015 15:57 Be the first to comment! Read 215 times
    • Permanent Exclusions: Kent - Sharp Fall in Numbers; Medway - Sharp Rise in Numbers; SEN - Not Good

        Permanent Exclusion numbers in Kent and Medway are heading rapidly in different directions, with an alarming rise in exclusions in Medway. In 2019-10 there were just three permanent exclusions in Medway, climbing to 22 in 2011-12. Just years later, it has soared to 71 pupils in 2013-14, of which fourteen were exclusions by Bishop of Rochester Academy, under its previous sponsors, Rochester Diocesan Board of Education.  Just 9 of the Medway exclusions were of primary school children, that is 10%, against 26, or 30%, in Kent.

      Bishop or Rochester Academy

      Meanwhile in Kent, the welcome news is that the reverse is happening as the number has fallen equally dramatically to a total of 87 in 2013-14, just a few more than Medway, although with 6 times as many children at local schools. An earlier article recorded that 203 children were permanently excluded from Kent schools in 2011 – 12, with 250 in the previous year. 

      However, the number of SEN statemented primary aged children permanently excluded in Kent has not fallen at all over this period, but still at 19 is now 69% of the total of 26 primary exclusions, all but two of the others also being on the SEN register. By contrast in Medway no primary pupils with statements were excluded, out of just 9 primary exclusions in total. 

      These are surely three very startling and contradictory outcomes in Kent and Medway for permanent exclusions overall and for primary and also primary statemented children.

      Read more...
      Written on Tuesday, 09 June 2015 17:11 2 comments Read 361 times
    • Oasis Academy Skinner Street highlights key issue with draft Education Bill

      The new draft Education and Adoption Bill which includes provision to force failing or coasting schools to become academies, without local or parental views being taken into account, has many flaws, possibly the most serious one being that there is no evidence that, overall, academisation improves standards. You will find plenty of evidence to support this assertion on the Anti Academies Alliance website, admittedly a partisan organisation, but one that carries out a powerful analysis of outcomes.

      Certainly not an original view, but I strongly believe that the key to a good school is good leadership and the status of the school is irrelevant if the resources delivered to perform the job are similar.

      The second key flaw in the argument is that there is no consideration of what to do with failing academies, and we have plenty of these in Kent and Medway, most recently, Oasis Academy Skinner Street in Gillingham, classified ‘Requires Improvement’ under Medway and handed over, with many of its fellow underperforming schools, to academy chains.

      oasis academy skinner street

      The most recent OFSTED Report on Oasis Skinner Street, published today, places it in Special Measures, so where next for the school? The Report does not mince its words: “Leaders and governors have an unrealistic view of how well the academy is performing. Leaders do not check weak teaching or underachievement sufficiently strongly to address them promptly”. The Marlowe Academy is of course to close after 10 years of providing a sub-standard education to its students, with little happening from government to force improvement in this period. Castle Community College in Deal, fast-tracked as an Outstanding school to become an academy, spectacularly fell from Outstanding to Special Measures in 2014, in just three years.

      There are of course many examples of highly successful academies and county maintained schools in Kent and Medway that are highlighted elsewhere in this website, but this article is written primarily to look at the implications of the proposed Bill for local failing or underperforming schools, identified below…….

      Read more...
      Written on Friday, 05 June 2015 10:46 Be the first to comment! Read 628 times
    • Academy and Free School News May 2015

      This article looks at the five new Kent academies opened since my previous Report, changes in ownership of academies, Lilac Sky, and new and proposed Free Schools.

      New Academies

      New academies open since February are: Beaver Green Primary in Ashford, sponsored by Swale Academy Trust; Charlton CofE Primary Dover, (Diocese of Canterbury); Lydd Primary (Village Academy Trust); and two Converter stand-alone primaries, Chilton Primary, Ramsgate; and Godinton Primary, Ashford.

      There are new converter applications from Manor Community Primary, Dartford and St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Canterbury.

      You will find a full list of open and proposed Kent and Medway Academies here, and of the academy groups operating in the county here, although the latter picture changes rapidly and I would be grateful for any updates or amendments that need to be made.

      Read more...
      Written on Friday, 22 May 2015 21:14 Be the first to comment! Read 435 times