The Judd School in Tonbridge has published its proposed admission arrangements for 2016 entry, containing three important decisions by Governors that will have a considerable impact not only on the school itself, but also on grammar school admissions across the area.
You will find the details here. The proposals are:
1) To increase the intake by 30 places to 155, consolidating the temporary increases of the past two years, and also presumably for 2015 entry. This has been done at the request of KCC, which will then provide substantial capital investment to support the expansion.
2)To ensure the increase caters for the current pressure on places from Kent boys, by creating two separate catchments one primarily from West Kent admitting 140 boys, the second from the remainder of the United Kingdom, admitting 15 boys. The academic criterion in each case would be high scorers in the Kent Test. The proposal includes a clear map of West Kent showing the division.
3)As I prophesied some time ago, The Judd is proposing to abandon its plans to set its own test, the new Kent Test meeting the criteria it lay down.
My own view is that I am delighted with all three proposals. They serve both the needs of the grammar school population of West Kent and, by keeping the testing procedures in line with the rest of Kent, slow down any further splintering of the Kent Test, making life much easier for children looking to apply for several Kent grammar schools. May I encourage parents to support all three.
I consider the proposals in more detail below………
Children who take the Kent Test have their results standardised against a national sample of children who have not been coached or prepared in any way. The pass mark for 2014 entry was a minimum of 118 for each of the three papers, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and mathematics, together with an aggregate score of 360. This mark is set to select the top 21% of children by performance in Kent. By contrast, for the national sample a score of 113 is sufficient to become part of the top 21%.
So the pass mark is much higher than should be expected and I have carried out an analysis of marks on the three individual papers taken last September, to try and understand this, and have come to the following conclusions. An explanation of my analysis follows:
Conclusion One: Mathematics is by far the likeliest determinant of whether a child passes or fails the Kent Test, as children in general perform far better on their two reasoning tests, especially verbal reasoning, than on mathematics.
Conclusion Two: The only explanation I have as to why the pass mark has risen by five marks in each subject, over that expected of a child who has carried out no preparation, is because of coaching which is most effective in the two reasoning tests.
Conclusion Three: The Judd School is absolutely right to shift away from reasoning tests and focus on curriculum achievement.
Conclusion Four: The new Kent Test to be taken in September may well dilute the problem somewhat with the introduction of an element of multiple-choice English, but does not address the central issue
Conclusion Five: Medway’s system of “Local Standardisation” eliminates the problem of Conclusion One.
Conclusion Six: If you can afford it, get some good coaching or other preparation........
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Following the decision of KCC to change the Kent Test to reduce coachability and introduce an English assessment for the 2015 and onwards Kent Test, Judd has decided to stay with KCC. I have left this item on the website, as I consider these plans were a major factor in the decision to change the format of the Kent Test.
The Judd School is planning to leave the Kent Test structure and set up its own admission tests in mathematics and English for admission in 2016. You will find the school statement here. This comes as no surprise as the school has made clear for some time that it is disillusioned with the Kent Test and believes its own tests will enable it better to select boys of the highest ability, and those with a stronger background in English. I have looked at the background to this proposal in a previous article.
Judd will therefore be the first Kent grammar school not to accept Kent Test results for over ten years, since the grammar schools of North West Kent scrapped their own separate admission procedure. Five other grammar schools: Dover Boys and Girls, Harvey Grammar and Folkestone School for Girls, and Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend now offer success at their own tests for admission, but they have kept the Kent Test as an alternative route. Loss of this prestigious school will be a great blow to Kent County Council, which has introduced its own new test arrangement for 2015 entry in an attempt to keep all schools on board.
This article looks at the reasons behind the move, including the problems with the current Kent Test notably around coaching of the two reasoning papers as confirmed by data on individual subjects. It also considers the consequences and future of the Kent Test, and dips into the influence of the Test data on appeals to other grammar schools..........
This article looks primarily at recent activity in provision of grammar school in Kent and Medway. In particular it looks at: the proposed Sevenoaks Satellite Grammar School (last week's development); West Kent; North West Kent; Canterbury; Cranbrook; Maidstone; Medway; Shepway and Thanet......
Took three days holiday this week in gap caused by half-term between preparing clients for appeals. Naturally there was a sudden outbreak of news including the following, some of which I will cover over the next couple of days:
1) Judd School announces it is considering setting up its own 11 plus tests for 2015 entry.
2) Judd school confirms no successful appeals this year.
3) Two new proposed Free Schools announced for opening in 2014 if approved. Jubilee Primary, in Maidstone, will be run by Jubilee Church. Also the INSPIRE Special Free School will initially have 40 places and be based next to Silverbank Park in Churchill Avenue. Medway Council has worked in partnership with three schools in submitting the bid to the Department for Education: Willimaosn School Trust; Bradfields Special School; and Greenacre School. I don;t have any further details yet.
4) Kent County Council has begun its consultation on the proposed Sevenoaks Grammar School satellite
5) The usual assassins keep putting the boot into the Trinity Christian Free School on the 11 plus website (not sure what it has to do with the 11 plus!) proposed for the same site
6) An OFSTED for Dame Janet Primary Academy in Ramsgate. formed out of Dame Janet Junior and Dame Janet Infants (failed OFSTED) receives shocking OFSTED showing that becoming an Academy is not the solution for everyone.
7) KCC to debate unacceptable delays in preparing Statements of Special Education Need. It is claimed that these are down to failures by the medical services to provide timely appropriate evdence.
Updated with outcomes of Buckinghamshire's solution to 11 plus issues
The pressures on Kent’s eleven plus testing procedures continue to increase as further evidence mounts to underline the East/West divide. At the bottom of this article you will find Buckinghamshire's (13 grammar schools) solution to similar problems. The main pressure is coming from the intensive coaching culture that pervades much of West Kent and which is responsible for seeing the Kent Test pass mark rise way above the natural level. Kent selects 21% of eleven year olds across the county, the imbalance ranging in state schools from 10% in Dover to 36% in Sevenoaks, statistics which underline the extent of the problem. This range would increase even further if private schools are included (I am waiting for the figures from KCC). This means there are able children in East Kent being deprived of a grammar school place even though there are vacancies, and some children in West Kent securing grammar school places not on grounds of ability, but through intensive coaching. West Kent children who have not been coached can lose out in two ways if they don’t make automatic selection, as statistics show it is harder to gain a place amongst the additional 4% added through headteacher assessment, and far harder to win a place on appeal than in the east of the county......