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Kent Secondary School Admissions 2015

    Index

     

    Telephone Consultation Service and New Clients - Important Notice

    I now find myself in the situation where I am fully committed for potential clients who have already engaged me for grammar school appeals in March and am sadly unable to accommodate any more. 

    I have left some capacity for non-selective appeals and also for oversubscribed grammar schools, where the child has passed the Kent Test, and parents who wish to take advantage of this should contact me on 2nd March or as soon as possible thereafter when they have received their allocation decision from KCC. 

    I am therefore sorry I am unable to take on any new clients for Year  Seven grammar school appeals from now on. I will be replying to those who have already contacted me as soon as possible, but as you will appreciate, I am still extremely busy handling current clients.

    My Telephone Consultation Service remains in place for all In Year Admissions and Appeals and other areas where I can be of service. 

    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 2014.

    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 Friday, 07 November 2014 11:12

    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.

    • Kent and Medway Key Stage Two results: Welcome improvement for Kent

      The 2014 National Primary School Achievement tables have now been published showing major improvements for Kent and a slight improvement for Medway over last year.

      Kent has continued its steady increase against national norms, with 79% of schools achieving Level 4 at Key Stage 2 in reading, writing and maths, the same as the national average – in 2013 Kent was 1% below, and in 2012 2% below. 19 schools had 100% of their pupils achieving this level up from last year’s twelve, details below, with particular mention for Bodsham CEP School who also came top of the county table for percentage of pupils achieving Level 5.   

      Bodsham                    

      Kent is also performing above the national norm: by counting Level 5 scores; and with the proportion of pupils achieving Level 4b in each of reading, writing and maths; and also in the average point score. Well done! There are also some very welcome improvements at schools I have previously criticised, such as Tree Tops Academy and Molehill Copse Primary School, details below.  Eight schools are below the government Floor Standard of 45%, a fifty per cent reduction on last year’s 16 schools although, worryingly, all but one one of these has declined in performance on last year. 

      Medway, at 75% remains 4% below the national average, the same as 2013, when it was 144th out of 150 Local Authorities, and 6% below in 2012 when it was in last place, although it has now crept up to 140th, so there is improvement. What is pleasing in Medway is that there is just one school, Phoenix Junior Academy, below the Government Floor Standard of  schools achieving 45% at Level 4, whereas last year there were two. Top school is Chattenden Primary, 100% Level 4s and top of the Level 5 Table.

      One has to approach the whole Key Stage 2 outcomes with caution, remembering the enormous pressure on schools to deliver, with headteachers’ jobs at stake. I talk to many Year 6 parents in state schools in the summer term each year, and habitually ask if their children have done anything interesting in school. Consistently the answer is “No, they have been practising SATs”. I doubt it’s that bad, but it is a strong indicator. The consequence is that KS2 results may be partially a reflection of the proportion of time and the coaching skills employed, rather than the real quality of the school. Nevertheless, with this caveat, KS2 results are an important indicator, published in time for primary admissions. Sadly, this year two Kent schools have seen their KS2 results suppressed by the Standards and Testing Agency for alleged cheating, such is the pressure to do well.

      Further details below………

      Read more...
      Written on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 00:00 Be the first to comment! Read 151 times
    • OFSTED Annual Report 2013/14: Medway Primary Schools absolute bottom in the country, Kent a little better

      IMPORTANT UPDATE 13th December at top of "Further Information" below

      Cllr Kelly Tolhurst, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Educational Improvement in September:

      It is pleasing that results at primary level are increasing each year and parents can be assured of a good start in their children’s school life.

      To no one’s surprise, except Medway Council’s, Medway has come well bottom of the national league table for OFSTED outcomes, published today. Medway Council came 150th out of 150 Local Authorities, one place below last year’s appalling results, with 53% of its pupils in Good or Outstanding Schools, down 6% on last year’s 59%. Nationally, the figure is 82% up from 79%. This decline, both absolute and against the national trend, was absolutely predictable although not apparently to Medway Council, as my previous OFSTED article shows,  with 11 schools declining in performance, against  just 4 improving, and no Outstanding schools at all this year. 

      This dire performance follows many previous years of dreadful results, with Medway Council betraying an astonishing complacency year on year. 

      Kent primary schools have improved slightly in position from 132nd to 130th, with a few more schools improving their grading than declining. However, a shocking 18 schools failed their Inspection. Again, fuller details here. However, for Kent the future is looking much brighter, as Key Stage 2 results this year, as yet unconfirmed, show a positive picture, every measure being improved on last year to around the national average. 

      The paradox of poor primary OFSTED results and good secondary results, underlined by examination performance at Key Stage 2 and GCSE, continues with Kent secondary schools coming 37th in the country on OFSTED outcomes (up from 54th in 2012/13) and Medway 41st (down from 25th). Now that every Medway secondary school is an academy, and over two thirds of those in Kent, the Local Authority has much less influence in performance

      I have now included an update on published OFSTED Inspections this year, at the foot of this item, Kent improving, guess what about Medway!.......

      Read more...
      Written on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00 Be the first to comment! Read 1093 times
    • Medway Test and Review Results 2014: As always, plenty of talking points

      This article reports on the full details of the Medway Test for entry to Medway grammar schools in September 2015, and explores the implications of the results.  

      To be eligible for  entry to a Medway grammar in September 2015, children had to score an aggregate of 525 in the Medway Test. This comprises age-standardised papers in verbal reasoning, mathematics (score doubled up) and a single piece of English writing (also times two).  So a child scoring 100 in VR, 95 in maths and 119 in English would pass with an aggregate of 528 made up of 100 + 2x95 + 2x119. There is no minimum score in each paper as in Kent.

      Headline comments are that:

      1)The figures confirm that the fall in numbers of children has bottomed out and rolls are again rising, which will come as a relief to those schools who have suffered from falling rolls in recent years.  An increase of 130 children in the age cohort is a welcome 4% rise from 2013 for the schools most under pressure.  

      2) Even so, there is a fall in the number of boys taking the Medway Test, accompanied by a further increase in the proportion of girls to boys both taking the test and also passing, compared with the 2013 figures; see below.

      3) There is also a fall in the number of boys being put forward for Review, a total of 36 children out of the 239 put forward being successful. This is only 1.2% of the total cohort, against a target of  2%, or 62 children. According to Medway Council: “The academic evidence supplied did not support a grammar assessment for the maximum 2% of the Medway cohort.” With growing concern over primary school standards in Medway, the inability to find another 26 children whose work is up to a grammar school standard only underlines the problems of literacy and numeracy in those schools.  

      4) I have highlighted before the built in prejudice of the Medway Test, showing a discrimination against both boys and younger children.  For 2015 entry, the bias towards older children is similar to that in 2012, the previous time I analysed the figures, with 55% of passes going to children born in the first half of the year, and 45% in the second half of the year, on both occasions. Just 21% of boys in the cohort passed the Test this year, compared with 25% of girls.  

      5) Remarkably, every one of the top four schools by percentage pass rate are Catholic Primary Schools, these being the only Medway state schools scoring over 50% grammar school passes. This is in spite of the fact that Catholic  schools are encouraged to support St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive, rather than the grammar schools.

      6) The number of children from outside Medway, taking and passing the Medway Test continues to rise inexorably as Kent children hedge their bets by taking both tests, and London families increasingly look to Medway as an alternative, but the reality is that few of the latter actually arrive.

      Medway Council is conducting a Review of the Medway Test at present and I would expect these issues to be central to the discussion, although I have raised most of them before with no response from the Council.

      In the remainder of this article, I expand on these points, as well as provide the relevant statistics on which the article is based.....

      Read more...
      Written on Monday, 08 December 2014 00:00 1 comment Read 314 times
    • School Admission Appeal Outcomes in Kent and Medway for 2014.

       I now have appeal data for all of the Kent and Medway secondary schools that held appeals in 2014 between March and August, as summarised in the table below, along with Kent primary appeals organised by KCC. Comparing these with the 2013 figures for secondary and primary schools, it is clear that the success rate for appeals in all categories has fallen, in some cases quite sharply.

      The biggest fall is with Primary Schools, the large majority of which are governed by Infant Class Legislation, which prevents appeals from being successful if they would result in Infant Class numbers increasing beyond 30 pupils, unless a second qualified full-time teacher is employed for the class, a massive expense for the school. There are a few exceptions, as explained here, and in the past, appeal panels have tried to be sympathetic to strong cases, but the pressure on appeal panels to follow the rules has increased year on year. For 2014, just 5 out of 537 appeals registered for schools where Infant Class Legislation applied were successful, although 147 families pulled out before the appeal were heard, many when they read the rules, another 30 being offered places off the waiting list before appeal, leaving only 1.4% of successful appeals from those heard. I have only collected appeal outcomes for Kent primary schools whose appeals are organised by KCC. They will be very representative of the small proportion of primary appeals managed by other organisations, and of Medway primary schools. 

      For secondary schools, the non-selective proportion of successes has fallen from 42% to 30%, and for grammar schools, the proportion has fallen from 48% to 45%. For Kent Primary schools with Infant Class Legislation, the fall is from 4.7% to 1.4%, other primary appeals actually increased from 31% to 63%, although numbers are too small to be significant. 

      The full summary table is as follows......

      Read more...
      Written on Friday, 05 December 2014 00:00 Be the first to comment! Read 365 times
    • Kings Farm Primary OFSTED Inspection: Special Measures and investigations into 'wrongdoing'

      Kings Farm Primary School in Gravesend has been placed into Special Measures by OFSTED in what must be the unique circumstances of: missing performance data, allegations of wrongdoing, multiple investigations by the authorities, suppressed KS2 results, public protest by parents, self-reporting of safeguarding issues by the school, and a staff turnover of around two thirds shortly before the Inspection. OFSTED is required to make its judgments on the school as it is, and yet this Report is massively influenced by the dreadful period from January to July 2014 when the school had a temporary Executive Headteacher who was removed by KCC over the summer.

      Kings Farm

       First the good news: 

      A new Consultant Headteacher was appointed in September. OFSTED reports: 

       "The consultant headteacher has made an excellent start. She is very clear about what needs to be done. The school is more stable and there is an air of optimism. Senior leadership is being strengthened rapidly. The school provides well for pupils’ personal and social development.   The consultant headteacher has taken decisive steps to improve behaviour in lessons and around the school. As a result, there have been no exclusions this term, and most pupils show enthusiasm for learning. Relationships with parents and carers are improving rapidly. All procedures for the safeguarding of pupils have been reviewed and are now secure.". 

      However:  

      "It is not possible to report whether the school met government floor standards in 2014, as the 2014 school data for the achievement of Year 6 pupils has been suppressed by the Standards Agency, pending investigation. Most of the school’s data on pupils’ past performance cannot be located. The local authority considers the submitted data for the Early Years Foundation Stage in 2014 to be inaccurate. Consequently, the school has little information on pupils’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. No evaluation of the impact of pupil premium expenditure was carried out in the last school year. The inspection team was aware during the inspection of several ongoing investigations by the appropriate authorities into allegations of wrongdoing. A review of safeguarding was carried out by the local authority, at the school’s request, in September 2014. The school community has experienced extensive disruption and instability recently. There has been considerable discontent among the staff, culminating in significant changes in staffing. Parents and carers have publicly demonstrated their lack of confidence in the school leadership. These matters, the rapid deterioration in standards, and the ongoing investigations have adversely affected morale and contributed to wholesale changes in leadership and management".......

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      Written on Thursday, 04 December 2014 00:00 4 comments Read 1031 times
    • The Conundrum of Kent Test scores solved

      Like many others, I have puzzled over the low pass mark of 106 required in each of the three assessments of English, Maths and Reasoning to produce 21% of children taking the Kent Test assessed of grammar school standard.

      The Tests are nationally standardised so one would expect an untutored child on each test to score 113 to come in the top 21%. An initial look at these figures might suggest that Kent children are less bright than average, but a closer investigation of scores for the individual subjects, shows a very different picture and provides a full explanation of the conundrum.

      Quite simply, whilst the majority of children have scored considerably more highly in the reasoning test than in the mathematics or English, a large number have failed to reach the standard in one of maths or English, dragging down the pass mark to provide the numbers.

      As a result 4446 Kent children reached the pass level of 106 in English, and 4884 in maths, out of a total of 9902 taking the test, but less than half this figure will have passed in both!

      In summary, Kent children have outperformed the national standard in all three assessments, whether through natural ability or the effect of tutoring on maths and English being open to question. However, the tutoring effect is still seen to the full in the Reasoning assessment, although this now counts for just one third of the assessment compared with the two thirds of previous years.

      In my view, this data shows the new Kent Test has been highly successful if its aim was to select children with ability in both maths and English, and reduce the effect of tutoring, although the days of the bright male mathematician whose literacy skills are poor are over, if this pattern is repeated in future years.

      The Judd School, which has been influential in the design of the new test, with its call to reduce the effect of coaching and improve standards of literacy in its intake, should be well pleased with this outcome and is surely likely to back off from its plan to introduce its own test for the 2016 intake.

      I have already published an article on the Kent Test outcomes, and another on my reflections of the admissions season this year, both of which now need to be read in the context of the above. As soon as I have the time I shall also publish a full analysis of Kent (and Medway) test outcomes. .....

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      Written on Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00 Be the first to comment! Read 1151 times