The Judd School in Tonbridge (grammar) has outlined the likely prospect of a Judd Entry Test for entry from September 2015, completely breaking away from the Kent 11 plus. The two Folkestone grammar schools have already introduced their own alternative to the Kent 11 plus to be taken this autumn and in following years. Both developments are described below........
Kent County Council has at last brought forward its plans for replacing the current Kent Test, which has been the subject of considerable criticism for a variety of reasons, notably the unfairness and skewing of outcomes because of the intensive coaching culture which has developed around the Test. A totally inadequate survey of headteachers took place over the Christmas holidays, that provided little useful information, although it is being used to justify the proposals below. You will find the Report to be discussed by the KCC Education Cabinet Committee here.
The main proposals are:......
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......
This article covers a variety of new Kent Test related issues, including the forthcoming review, relative success of private and state schools, high scorers (including numbers of children with each high score in the Kent Test), and concluding with a note to posters on the eleven plus exams website forum. Please note that I do not publish pass rates in the Kent Test for individual schools, as I consider such league tables unhelpful, depending extensively on the calibre of the children being tested, and the amount of coaching undertaken by pupils from each school. State schools should have no influence on the performance of their children, except through the quality of maths teaching, which can perhaps be identified from the proportion of children achieving a Level 5 in Key Stage 2 SATS, as reported on the Education Department website, and through the consideration of work for a minority of children through the Headteacher Assessment. Some local newspapers reproduce such tables, but I am afraid I am unable to respond to requests about individual schools. There is also further information about test results in several articles below, including the most recent one......
UPDATED 6th November
This article covers a range of 11 plus matters based on new statistics, including: the Review of the Kent 11 plus; coaching; statistics for the Kent Headteacher Assessment; a closer analysis of those out of county children who have passed the Kent Test and likely destinations; the pressures on North West Kent grammars; high scoring issues continued; Medway out of county issues; and today's article in the Sunday Telegraph. ......
Medway Secondary Common Application Forms (SCAF) are due in by 31st October, the National Closing Date. For Kent - because of the half term break, KCC will accept SCAFs that are received by the Kent primary school headteacher by the morning of 7 November, or that are made online up to 23.59 on 5 November. I am not sugggesting you should leave them that late.
Some general thoughts and then a look at a few specific parts of Kent, where there may be changes developing ; .......
I have now received the following preliminary information regarding Kent Test outcomes. This will be updated as I receive further information.
|Number who registered for Kent Test||11841|
|Number who sat Kent Test||11451|
Number assessed suitable for grammar school
starting September 2013
Number assessed suitable for grammar school,
starting September 2012
These figures include .........
Kent maximum scores comment below updated 29 October.
The results of the Medway Tests were received by parents today, with an aggregate score of 509 being sufficient to secure a pass. More details below.
Soem children who have taken the Kent Test will receive a score higher than the previous maximum, although this will make no difference to the allocation of places as it is just a slightly different standardisation range to previous years. I can see only one grammar school in Kent where it is likely to be relevant. More details below.....
An abbreviated version of this article appeared in Kent on Sunday 0n 25th March 2012. It is drawn from two other articles on this website: Oversubscription and Vacancies; and Movement in and out of the County.
Information from KCC and Medway under FOI requests, reveals considerable change in the pattern of secondary school applications this year. The focus is on grammar school patterns of admission in West Kent. There is a considerable swing in grammar school assessments from East to West, driven by parental pressure to secure grammar school places, and the intense coaching culture which becomes self–fulfilling. This is combined with pressure from children along the boundary to the West and NW, and from London Boroughs stretching through to Lewisham, with a total of 211 out of county children taking up places in these Kent grammar schools. Not surprisingly there are many grammar qualified Kent children without a grammar school place, predominantly girls in the south of the area, and boys in the north. Thus the top seven oversubscribed grammar schools in Kent are all in the West, turning away an average of 90 children each. Top this year is Skinners, rejecting a record 138 first choice applicants, followed in order by: Dartford Grammar; Tonbridge Grammar; Dartford Girls; The Judd; Tunbridge Wells Girls; Tunbridge Wells Boys; and Weald of Kent. What is not always realised is that this is balanced by over 300 children going the other way, mainly into comprehensive schools over the border. Most oversubscribed grammar schools in Medway are Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, Rochester and Rochester Grammar School.
Another major issue arising from this tilt, is the number of vacant spaces in East Kent Grammars led by Harvey Grammar, Folkestone with 73, followed closely by Folkestone School for Girls. Then, in order: Highworth, Ashford; Clarendon House, Ramsgate; Barton Court, Canterbury; Mayfield, Gravesend; Borden, Sittingbourne; Chatham House, Ramsgate; and Highsted, Sittingbourne. Three others, Invicta Grammar and Oakwood Park Grammar both in Maidstone, and Wilmington Grammar Girls are full only because KCC have allocated children there, who were unsuccessful elsewhere. Two Medway Grammar Schools, Chatham Boys and Chatham girls have over a hundred spaces between them, as numbers of children in Medway drops sharply
What is clear is that the eleven plus is failing able children in East Kent, we can see these schools looking to different methods of assessing children, as already happens in the two Dover Grammar Schools, both full as a result. Presumably, one can expect to see higher than normal success rates at appeal at many of these schools, as the balance is righted.
Most popular non-selective school remains Leigh Technology Academy, turning away 193 disappointed first choices, followed by Longfield Academy with 91. The pressure on these schools is caused by lack of alternatives in the area, Dartford Technology College (girls) and Meopham School both having failed OFSTEDs and there being no boys’ non-selective school in the area. This explains why 100 Kent children went into non-selective schools in Bexley and Bromley.
Other popular Kent non selective schools disappointing more than 40 first choice applicants were (in order): Valley Park Community, Maidstone; Fulston Manor, Sittingbourne; North, Ashford; Westlands School, Sittingbourne; Hillview Girls, Tonbridge; Bennett Memorial, Tunbridge Wells; Archbishop’s, Canterbury; King Ethelbert Academy, Westgate; and Cornwallis Academy, Maidstone. In Medway, Brompton Academy turned away a remarkable 79 first choices, even after increasing its Planned Admission Number by 30 to cope with its popularity, followed by Thomas Avelingl, and Greenacre. Sadly, one reason for the popularity of many of these schools is because parents wish to avoid other local schools.
There are three Kent schools with over 90 vacancies: Pent Valley, Folkestone; Marlowe Academy, Broadstairs; and Chaucer, Canterbury. A total of 12 non-selective schools in Kent had more than a third of their places empty.
In Medway, discrepancies are even starker: Bishop of Rochester Academy has the highest number of vacancies at 135, being over half empty. This is followed by St John Fisher, Robert Napier, Strood Academy, and Hundred of Hoo. A key issue in Medway is the rapidly falling rolls which currently accounts for 14% of all places being empty.
Government policy appears to be to encourage the free market in school places. Looking at the picture in Kent one can see that before long we are going to see casualties of this policy in our secondary schools, some of which will be in shiny new Academy buildings, costing tens of millions of pounds. Never mind the children who of course are the real casualties of this game of monopoly.
Which Kent and Medway Schools are the most popular? Which have most vacancies? Why has one school reduced the numbers it can admit? Why are there nine grammar schools with vacancies, whilst eight in West and North West Kent turn away an average of over 80 children who put them first choice? Why does one school annually top the popularity figures, rejecting nearly 200 children who put it in first place? Answers below.
Kent County Council figures show there was a fall of 200 in the number of Kent children transferring to secondary school this year, but an unwelcome increase of 30 children to 443 who were offered none of their choices. I have published four previous articles which you will find below, but this one covers vacancies and levels of oversubscription across Kent and Medway. You will find last year’s figures here.
The most dramatic finding has been featured elsewhere, the shift in children passing the 11+ from East to West of the county......