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Medway Grammar School Applications 2017 Entry

 Last Updated September 2016

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For details of Review and appeal process, go to Review.

Medway children are selected for grammar school using different tests and a different process of selection to that operated in Kent; see below.

For children in most primary schools, they will take the Tests in their own school  with some schools arranging the tests for the following Saturday. Details of school by school arrangements in the Medway Admission Brochure. Children from outside Medway & at Kings School, Rochester, will take the tests in independent test centres

 
You may also find an article I wrote for Kent on Sunday in September 2014 about secondary admissions helpful.
 
 Medway Test result and Review statistics for 2010 to 2015 entry are here.

Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new school at other times.

TIMETABLE

Key Action
Key Dates in Scheme
Opening Date for Registration for Medway Tests Wednesday 1 June 2016
 Closing Date for Registration for Medway Tests
Friday 1 July 2016
Medway Test Date For children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school during the week Tuesday 13/ Wednesday 14 September 2016
Medway Test date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school on Saturday and those children from out of area and those Medway schools that have not opted to test in own school (will be tested in test centres).
Saturday 17 September 2016
Parents informed of test results
posted Friday 30 Sept 2016 (by email after 4 p.m.)
Closing Date for review requests
Friday 7 October 2016
 Parents informed of review results
posted by Friday 21 October 2016
 National Closing Date for Common Application Form (online and SCAF)
4 p.m. Monday 31 October 2016
National Offer Day, offers posted or sent by email
Wednesday 1 March 2017
Places must be accepted/refused and requests to go on a waiting list and appeals must be submitted By Wednesday 29 March 2017
 Vacant places re-allocated by Medway Council
w/b Monday 10 April 2017 until Sunday 31 December 2017

THE MEDWAY TESTS

 Children take three tests: verbal reasoning, mathematics and extended writing. The first two tests are multiple choice, the English is a single piece of extended writing, usually to an essay title, but it can be any Key Stage 2 theme. The scores on each test are standardised according to the scores of Medway children taking the tests, so that a score of 100 is allocated to the average child who took the test. Scores then range from 70 to 140.
The scores from the three tests are then added together in the following way: verbal reasoning score given a weighting of one, and the maths and English scores given a weighting of two, so for example:

EXAMPLE:

Test
Score
Weighted Score
Verbal Reasoning
110
110
Mathematics
98
196
Extended Writing
100
200
Total Score
506
The pass score is then determined to admit 23% of Medway children (those from out of Medway are found selective in the same way, but their scores do not influence the calculations).  In 2013 the pass score was 509 so this child would not have passed. The Medway test pass mark for entry in  2012 was 505, for 2013 it was 509, for 2014 it was 528 for 2015, 525 and for 2016 it was 521. The wide variation in pass scores is NO indication of the difficulty of the tests. It is a result of what is called local standardisation and is strongly influenced by the proportion of Medway children taking the test which varies from year to year.
 I am very critical of this pattern, as Extended Writing is the least reliable of all tests used for selection processes, according to NFER who are the country's leading experts in test setting. Because it receives a double weighting, the result dwarfs that of verbal reasoning, a good predictor of academic success according to NFER. As a result, a child can gain a pass on the strength of a single strong essay, or similarly lose a place because they have misunderstood the extended writing question. There is no minimum mark required in any test. For these reasons, different children will perform well in Kent and Medway and so it may well be worth taking both sets of entrance tests, to secure a grammar school assessment (although each is only accepted in the Authority in which it is taken, except that the two Chatham Grammar schools accept a pass in the Kent Test).
Further, I have carried out an analysis of the different performance patterns of boys and girls and of children of different ages as reported in a series of news items, the link for 2014 admission being here, but brought up to date here.  These reveal the shocking results that girls are far more likely than boys to pass the Medway Test or Review, year on year.  In the 2015 tests, 25.6% of girls were assessed selective and only 21.7% of boys! Further older children are considerably more likely to pass the Medway Test than younger children - 53% in the first half of the year with 47% of their younger counterparts. I have raised this directly with Medway Council, through the media and via this website over a number of years,  and fail to understand the total lack of response about this serious discrimination. 
THE REVIEW PROCESS
Where children have taken the Medway Test and been unsuccessful, parents have the right to request a review of the decision within the next week. Results will be out in time for you to complete your SCAF. Parents will need to think carefully about whether to apply for a Review, as if unsuccessful, you may find yourself barred from making an appeal on academic grounds and in any case, the Review documents are presented tot he appeal panel. For more information see Medway grammar school Review and appeal.
 
Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new school at other times. You may wish also to consult the page on Review and Appeal. As well as the issue with the full application form now being presented by most schools to the appeal panel, Medway Council also makes available the results of the Kent Test if taken, which are also usually presented. 

 

Warning on Medway School Admissions

Schools are not allowed to know the position you have placed them on the Application Form when drawing up rankings of children to determine who is awarded a place. However, for 2014 entry the whole application form,including reasons for applying for a school was sent to Admission Authorities to be provided as evidence for appeal panels when considering appeals. I understand this practice will continue for 2015 admission and subsequently, although I regard it as a seriously retrograde step placing parents in an invidious position regarding their choice of schools. It is certainly wrong according to the spirit, if not the letter, of the mandatory School Admissions Code,that does not allow schools to know in which order the parents have placed them on the form for admission purposes.  However, I am told it is legal and other Authorities (not Kent) also use it when parents appeal for a school place in March, It is possible that some schools which are their own admission authorities (including academies) may choose not to present the information to Independent Appeal Panels, but for 2014 appeals nearly all did. If you are likely to have to appeal, you therefore now have to consider order of preference on the Common Application Form much  more carefully than in previous years, as the school and appeal panel will now see all your preferences and be entitled to ask the reason for them.

Further, there is a section for you to provide the reason for applying to each school separately on the Form.  This used to be confidential to the school applied for and continues to be so, unless you appeal, when as it is on the common application form it is shared with all schools you are appealing to. Obviously if you put down strong reasons for applying to one school it may reflect badly on you if appealing for another! My advice is therefore clear. Do not put any entry in this section, unless you are applying on health grounds (or similar) on which you consider your child needs to attend a particular school, in which case you would also need to provide medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Otherwise, reasons are completely ignored for allocating places in the admission procedure as they do not form part of the criteria or rules by which places are allocated.

 
Kent and Medway
Kent parents who apply for a Medway grammar school place and need to go to Review (see below) will only receive the outcome a few days before the Kent SCAF needs to be submitted. You cannot appeal for a Medway grammar school place unless it is named on the SCAF. 

The Schools
A grammar school assessment does not necessarily secure a place at the school of one's choice. There is further information about each school in the Individual Schools section of this website. The pattern of discrimination against boys is reflected by the number of grammar schools: two for boys, three for girls and one mixed. 
Chatham Grammars for Boys and Girls both take all who have passed so if your son or daughter has passed the Medway test and  if one of the Chathams' is named on your application form above any non selective school you name, you can be confident you will offered a grammar school place. They will also offer places to children who have passed the Kent Test or even if they have failed the Medway Test or not taken it, or any other nationally recognised selection tests (unspecified). Even if your child has only taken the Kent Test and not passed, you have the right to appeal to the appropriate Chatham Grammar School.  
Fort Pitt Grammar (girls) reduced its Planned Admission Number to 120 following its change to Foundation status some years ago. It has now changed its oversubscription crtieria to give priority to children living within two miles and then on the Hoo Peninsula together with Cuxton (but all qualified first choices were offered places for 2013, 2014 and 2015 entry). Even so , winning an appeal was difficult and the school appeal panel applied the rule about unsuccessful Reviews (see above). With steadily rising rolls in Medway there was again be oversubscription in 2016.
Rochester Grammar School (girls) is regularly oversubscribed and initially takes those girls with the highest scores (together with able musicians). However, for 2013 entry, although there was an initial high cut off, even after the appeals girls with a basic pass were being offered places from the waiting list, all who had passed and applied finished up with a place. For 2014 nearly all girls who had passed and applied were offered a place, but for 2015 admission, the cut off rose sharply to 535, the pass score being  525, and even further for 2016, to 539, the pass score being 521.   
Rainham Mark Grammar School (mixed) also takes highest scorers. Currently the most popular grammar school in Medway, it has now expanded permanently to seven classes of entry but for 2015 admission took nearly all children who passed. Winning an appeal is difficult and the school appeal panel applies the rule about unsuccessful Reviews - see above. 
Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School (boys) takes those boys who live nearest (but in recent years have usually taken most who have passed and appealed, in several of those years after complaints by me to the ombudsman - not 2014 when there were 62 appeals, but only 14 were successful). for 2015 admission, a high proportion of appellants including a number who had not passed the Medway Test, were successful, so the school appeal panel did not apply the unsuccessful Review rule which it brings into action when pressure on places is high!
The Howard School (boys) is not a grammar school, being technically bilateral (two parts, one selective and one non-selective) but caters for grammar ability boys. The grammar section has now dwindled, and most boys in this part of the school were originally non-selective but passed an internal test after being accepted into the school. Admission to the grammar section is no longer dependent on the Medway Test. 
Last modified on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 09:58