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Displaying items by tag: secondary admissions

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 07:30

Kent Eleven Plus results

Kent Eleven Plus decisions are now available for parents online, a hard copy being sent by post tomorrow.The decision is just one of pass/fail, with marks available from the child's primary school. The pass marks for the Kent 11 plus Test have been varied slightly from last year. Children must either have achieved a total score of 360, with a minimum of 118 in each paper, or alternatively found to have been selective on the Headteacher Assessment (HTA) The pass is set to select 21% of children attending Kent primary schools (in those parts of Kent that were once the traditional selective areas), the same requirements then being applied for all other children in Kent and out of county as well. The aggregate score of 360 is the same as for 2013 entry, although the minimum in each paper has been relaxed slightly this year from the previous 119, to produce the 21% target. As last year, the maximum score is 423. Approximately another 4% are found selective through the HTA process. If your child is found successful at the HTA they are classified as selective and will be treated equally with any other child at grammar schools that ask for a pass as the academic standard (i.e. except for the super-selectives). If parents wish to know the scores on individual papers, they will need to contact their primary school. The number of children passing the Kent test has risen slightly this year to 5370, although the number of Kent passes has fallen slightly; further details below. 

In practice,.......

Published in News Archive

I now have official details of the pattern of children crossing the Kent and Medway boundaries to take up secondary school places for 2013 entry and, as in previous years it gives a very different picture from the more lurid headlines on this issue. I have divided the cross border movement into four sections below: Medway; North West Kent; West Kent & South Kent. I don't have precise figures for which part of the county children live in so some of these figures are best estimates. The headline figures are: 589 children from out of Kent are taking up places in Kent secondary schools, with 436 going the other way, figures very similar to 2012. But don't jump to conclusions. Read the following:...

Published in News Archive

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 ; .......

Published in News Archive

 

The pass mark for the Kent 11 plus Test is the same as last year. Children must have achieved a total score of 360, with a minimum of 119 in each paper or found to have been selective on the Headteacher Assessment. The pass is set to allow 21% of children attending Kent primary schools through, although the pass standard is the same for all other children as well. Approximately another 4% are found selective through the Headteacher Assessment process, explained here, about half way down the page. If your child is found successful at the HTA they are classified as selective and will be treated equally with any other child at grammar schools which ask for a pass as the academic standard (i.e. except for the super-selectives). If parents wish to know the scores on individual papers, they will need to contact their primary school. 

In practice,.......

Published in News Archive

(Article in progress, updated 1 Oct 2012)

Kent County Council has quietly released a Commissioning Plan setting out its proposals for new school places across the county for both primary and secondary schools, on a district by district basis, looking at the consequences for individual schools. The main headline is that over 10,000 new places need to be produced by 2016. You will find the full plan here. The Commissioning Plan identifies proposals for creating 5194 places by 2014, and at present there are no clear plans for the remaining 5000 places - although there is time now to consider options.

A preliminary press release focused on 35 additional classrooms being added in the current school year, catering for the additional  reception classes which were set up to cater for mainly unexpected demand.

I believe this is an essential document; it is just regrettable that when it was proposed in 2009, on the back of warnings about school place shortages, no action was taken, resulting in some of the temporary fixes we have seen in the past two years, described elsewhere in this website. Details follow below.......

The document looks at each District, and names the schools due for expansion and where new primary schools are to be commissioned  in the next four years, I summarise these as follows, although you need to check the plan for the detail......

Published in News Archive

The main secondary school appeals are now ended, although places are still being freed up, mainly in non-selective schools through movement in waiting lists. This article is an overview of the latest situation across Kent and Medway, although I am happy to be corrected on details or to add in additional items. In particular,  information on non-selective school situations would be helpful.

 For grammar schools, the main pressure area has been West & North West Kent for boys,   with Tunbridge Wells Grammar school for Boys having 89 appeals, and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys having around 70. As a result Kent County Council came under considerable pressure  from families whose sons had passed the 11+, but had no grammar school place. In the event,  nearly all of these boys have been offered places off waiting lists or at appeals, with TWGSB taking 32 at appeal, Wilmington over 30,  Gravesend Grammar taking in nearly all who had passed without the need to go to appeal. 

Oakwood Park in Maidstone has also taken up a number of these and, after appeals, now has 164 places allocated, leaving its additional form of entry only part filled. As a result, this OFSTED ‘Outstanding school’  is surprisingly still welcoming applications from anyone who has passed and should be able to offer the vacant places without appeal.   I believe that otherwise all these schools are now full, along with Skinners, Judd, Dartford Grammar Boys and Maidstone Grammar. Interestingly, admission authorities can accept a second appeal .......“because of a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent or child”.  For example, if your child comes up with two Level 5s in the recent SATs it may be worthwhile  asking  a grammar school with vacancies if it will consider a second appeal (it has an absolute right to say no). ......... 

Published in News Archive
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 18:21

Admissions Fraud

Last updated July 2017

Fraudulent Admission applications occur for places in both Primary and secondary schools and in every Local Authority in the country, including both Kent and Medway. 

I believe this is a growing problem, and what is seen is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The reasons for this are often through desperation, as parents seek either to secure a place at the best school in the area, or a suitable school when faced with unpalatable alternatives. As such, one can understand their motives, but this is grossly unfair to those children and families who play by the rules.

There are now two sanctions which are applied for applicants who are caught out making a fraudulent application. The first is the simple one of cancelling the application which can cause the perpetrator significant problems in securing an alternative place, or else cancelling a place at the school even if the child has taken up a place there. The second is for the Local Authority, or presumably the school Governing Body for a Foundation school or Academy, to initiate a prosecution as happened in two alleged cases in Harrow and Poole.  Neither of these were successful for whatever reason, and may have inhibited other Authorities from taking similar action, but the problem remains.

I am regularly approached about this issue and will not advise on how to obtain a place at a school fraudulently. On the other hand, I have successfully supported clients who have found out about a fraudulent application, to see it cancelled to enhance the chances of honest families to secure a place at their chosen school. I am also happy to pass on information on this issue anonymously to the appropriate authorities.

Currently I am aware of only one Admission Authority, the Governing Body of Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School, which routinely carries out checks on applicants, an initiative I applaud for a massively popular school in an area where it is evident that some families do take out short term leases to attempt to secure school places. However, I anticipate that the practice of attempting to  obtain school places by fraudulent means will grow.

The Schools Adjudicator carried out an enquiry into the practice of Fraudulent Admission to schools in 2009. He found some small and medium sized Local Authorities considered they had more than 100 identified fraudulent applications, whilst others, including large LAs, had none. In the same period KCC had 13 reported cases, of which most were dismissed. My own observations in the intervening years, suggest the problem has ballooned.

I consider Kent has two weaknesses in its procedure. The first lies in its delegation of discovering fraud to individual schools (I believe most cases of attempted fraud occur in primary schools), most of which do not have the resources to investigate such issues. The second is Kent's loose definition of place of residence when compared with some other authorities, which I have taken up with the Council but to no avail. Update July 2017: After years of lobbying by me, Kent now has a much tighter definition of residence for its own primary schools. Other schools should take note, but don't, some because they simply don;t want to know. 

The most common method of fraud identified was the use of addresses of relatives, the next being the taking up of short term leases or rental agreements on houses with no intention of living there. Update July 2017: I believe the latter is now the most common although I only have circumstantial evidence for this through the examples I have come across.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 07 September 2010 19:03

Secondary School Admissions: KOS Sept 2010

Last week, some 9,000 Kent children took the Kent eleven plus, results due on 18th October. Parents then have less than two weeks until 31 October (a week shorter than last year!) to list four secondary schools in preference order on the Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF), so early planning is important. Already some secondary schools have held Open Days, and parents should visit all possible schools and ask about the chances of a successful application.

It is impossible to give specific advice on choosing schools in a short article, as the situation varies enormously from town to town and often year by year. My website at www.kentadvice.co.uk provides more information and I plan to expand this shortly.

If your child passes the Kent test, you can name just grammar schools on your SCAF.  If you don’t qualify for any of these, you may be offered the nearest grammar school with a vacancy but last year some parents were offered non selective places as there were no other local grammar school places vacant. If your child has passed the eleven plus and you name grammar schools and a non selective school, for example a church comprehensive school, you will be offered the highest school on your list for which you are eligible, whether or not it is a grammar school. If your child has taken the eleven plus and not passed, you must include any grammar on the SCAF  you wish to appeal to, but I recommend you include at least one non-selective school. Appeals will not be heard until the summer of Year Six. If your child has not taken the eleven plus, you can only apply for non selective schools.  Some schools last year still claimed falsely that parents needed to put the school first on the SCAF to secure a place.

After closing date each school draws up a list of eligible applicants according to their oversubscription rules. They are not told where you listed them on the SCAF or which other schools you applied to, so list schools exactly as you prefer them - there is no way of improving your chances at a school by tactics of choice.  The only exception to this is, if  going to appeal, you will find the appeal panel is told and may be influenced by the school you have been allocated. There is no advantage in putting just one school on your list.

 

I strongly recommend you apply on-line so you reliably receive results the day before they are delivered by post. Last year over 79% of Kent parents went online.

On National Offer Day 1st March 2011, your child will be allocated the highest preference school for which they qualify.  So some children could get their fourth choice ahead of others who listed it first if their claim is stronger. If you don’t qualify for any school on your list, KCC offers a place at the nearest appropriate school with vacancies.

 

This is a time when rumours swirl about the playground gates, many of them old wives tales. If in doubt check it out and my best wishes to every family going through what is undoubtedly an extremely stressful process. Remember, over 80% of all families were offered their first choice school in March last year, a figure which will have been much higher after the appeals process was concluded.

Peter J Read

Independent Education Advice

Published in Newspaper Articles
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 00:00

In Year Admissions

Last Updated  February 2021
Update: Coronavirus temporary arrangements for In Year admission to grammar schools for Kent and Medway 2020-21, below. 
Note: Any expatriate families may find helpful an article I wrote for the British Council Families Association newsletter, Jan 2015: Finding a school on returning home.

 There are various reasons parents want their children to change schools outside the normal transfer frameworks, both in the primary and secondary school sectors. The enormous scale of in-year admissions can be seen from KCC figures for applications between 1st September 2012 - 11 June 2013, when there were 9902 applications for primary aged children and 3020 for those of secondary age (these figures are not available for subsequent years as schools now handle their own in-year admissions - see below). 

The most common is moving house: expatriates moving back from foreign countries; children of UK service personnel or crown servants returning home; those moving into Kent or Medway from another county, or those moving within the area.

There are also parents unhappy with their child’s current school or those seeking a grammar school place post the 11 plus or currently attending a non-selective school, or those simply looking for what they perceive as a ‘better’ school.

Some parents are unhappy with the primary or secondary school allocated during the normal school admissions process and wish to apply for fresh schools additional to those on their application form. 

Finally (I think) those whose children have been home-schooled or attending a private school and, for a variety of reasons wish them to take up a place in a state school.

Moving House
        ·       Proof of residence is often the key sticking point for those moving house.

·       However, if the school of your choice has vacancies, then the place of residence is immaterial provided it is in the United Kingdom  (but if the school is selective your child will still need to take and pass an admission test first).
·       Otherwise, with few exceptions (some church schools & the super-selective grammar schools), you are unlikely to be seriously considered for a place at the school (at appeal, see below) until you have committed yourself to purchase (contract signed) or rented (often 12 month rental agreement) a property in the neighbourhood.  
·       Many parents want a school place before they move home. Apart from the exceptions above, you won’t get one unless there are vacancies, certainly not if you are moving from another country. However, there is nothing to stop you making enquiries of the school directly – each will have its own policy for dealing with such enquiries. These range from 'no assistance' (most common with heavily oversubscribed schools and some primary schools with limited facilities to deal with a large number of enquiries), through to those schools who will offer a visit to look round and a discussion. Do not assume that the latter are short of applicants. Some believe it is a common courtesy for potential parents.
·       Almost by definition, the most popular schools are oversubscribed (full), and so you will be looking at an application followed by an appeal that may of course not be successful. As a result, many children spend a period of time out of school, which can be as much as three months (even I have a grandchild who spent this amount of time without a school!).     
·      There are special arrangements for children of UK service personnel or crown servants returning home (School Admissions Code, para 2.18). However, the application of these Codes does not provide much advantage in gaining a place at a specific oversubscribed school for In Year applications. 
·      In any case, the Local Authority will offer your child in a school with vacancies. 
·      I used to work with expatriates relocating back to Kent to try and secure places for their children in Year 7 of new secondary schools each September. Their problems appear particularly acute as KCC is not allowed to begin the process until they are domiciled in the UK, and therefore it is wise to move before the admission process begins.
Grammar Schools (see below for important variation in the school Year 2020-2021).
You will find considerably more information on the pages dealing specifically with appeals to Kent and Medway grammar schools, the former including a section on 2021 appeals.   
·     Almost without exception, entrance to grammar school is via an admission test, which will usually be set in-house for entry from December in Year 7 and above, and varies in content from school to school. Success in one grammar school’s entrance test is rarely transferable to a second school. For entry up until this point, Kent children will take the Kent Test which is transferable between schools. Medway Council does not offer a testing facility for late applicants and in this case, the application will be turned down, but parents will have the right to appeal against the decision, putting forward what evidence they are able, to try and convince the Panel the child is of grammar school ability. This is unlikely to succeed except at Chatham Grammar. For Chatham and Holcombe grammar schools there is an alternative route. Apply to a Kent grammar school, take the Kent Test, and you then have the right to use the result as a qualification for entry (or if unsuccessful appeal) to these two schools. 
 
·      Most grammar schools are full in each Year Group (but feel free to check) and so there can be several stages to securing a place. Where the school is full in the relevant Year Group,  they will determine after you apply, whether to test before making a decision. If the child is successful you will be offered an oversubscription appeal to try and win a place, or a place directly if there are vacancies. If unsuccessful in the test, you still have the right to appeal, whether or not the school is full, but will have to show alternative evidence that your child is of grammar school ability. Sometimes the child will be turned down without testing on the grounds that the school is full. In this case, if you go ahead with an appeal, the child will be tested before the hearing so that appropriate evidence is forthcoming.

      Chances of success if the school is full will vary enormously, depending on the pressure on places.

 

 Medway Council staff have a habit of offering different advice to different enquirers. 
 
2020-21: Coronavirus
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no late Testing in Kent or Medway. Late applications for Year 7 in Kent and In Year applications for later Year Groups will be rejected, with parents offered the opportunity to go to appeal. At appeal they will be required to demonstrate their child is of grammar school ability, although there will be limited evidence available. This will tend to favour children at private schools. There is a news article in progress and I will provide a link when this is available. Strangely (?), the government has made an exception in the case of private schools.  where testing can take place. 
 
Challenging Behaviour & Exclusion
Special rules apply where the child has a history of challenging behaviour (who defines this?) or has been permanently excluded from at least two other schools  but only for In Year applications. (School Admissions Code Para 3.8) – However, the Local Authority still has to find a place locally for such a child.

Procedure

Kent
The procedure is very simple. If you are looking for a place in a different one to the school you have been offered in Year Seven, you can apply for any school in the county after a set date (Wednesday 21st April in 2021). There is nothing to stop you from submitting the form a little earlier.  You simply need an In-Year Casual Application Form and send it to the schools you are interested in. The same form is used for all schools for Years 7-11.  There is no centralised process, so you can send as many applications in as you wish. If turned down, you have the right to appeal.
 
 Medway
Important update, February 2021, see below
The Council has at last delegated late applications to all schools after December in Year Seven, following many years of confusion, and quite simply If a parent/carer wishes to apply for a school as an in-year admission you must apply directly to the relevant school. The arrangements set out here require you to complete a Casual Admission Form for each school you wish to apply to. These also state: 'If the school has a vacant place and your child has the highest eligibility against the oversubscription criteria then the school must offer it to you'. This is a nonsense. It should read: If the school has a vacant place in the appropriate year group then the school must offer it to you, with the exception of grammar schools if the child is not grammar qualified'. The note at the bottom makes clear that Medway Council still monitors applications closely.  
Medway Council may still follow its illegal practice of contacting the previous school to find details of academic progress for most schools. Medway may try and insist on your being locally resident, but cannot deny your right to apply using your current address provided it is in this country.
Up until December of Year Seven, the Council retains control of applications. Up until 31st March, parents should fill in a Waiting List Request Form, although this is not mentioned in the Late Application Section here.   After that period, as long as you submitted a common application form, you are able to submit a fresh waiting list form including or exclusively of new schools at any time up until 31st December. This information is not published on the Medway website or elsewhere and does not apply to grammar schools if the child has not taken and passed the Medway Test. 
A Medway Aside
The section of the Medway Council website dedicated to schools offers a different experience,  with an interesting Roundabout provided for those who wish to use it to find related information (see below).
 
The Medway Late Application Procedure Roundabout for Year Seven Places according to the website
From The Medway Council website, starting at Apply to Move School.

The following are not in-year admissions and will require you to apply through the normal processes:

If you follow the link to 'transfer to Year 7', it takes you back to  Apply for a secondary school place, at the foot of which you will find:

If you apply for a school place after the closing date, your application will only be considered if you can provide a good reason, for example:

  • serious illness
  • bereavement
  • late move to the Medway area

If you miss the closing date you can still submit an application up to 5pm on 4 December 2020 with a letter explaining why you missed the closing date. We'll decide if late applications received by 4 December 2020 can be accepted. Any applications not accepted as on-time or received after 4 December 2020 will be held pending until we process late applications from 19 April 2021.

If you follow the link provided, it takes you to a fairly random page including a section on 

In-Year Admissions
Applications to the current Year R-Year 11 are classed as in-year admissions. In-year admissions applications cannot be submitted using this website. If you wish to apply for in-year admission, please read the information and guidance about the in-year admission process.
 
And you are back at the start, via the misinformation in the previous paragraph. 
You may have thought that the legal document 'Medway Council Co-ordinated Scheme for Secondary Admissions Academic Year 2021/22 Incorporating admission to Year 7 (secondary schools and academies) and Secondary In-Year Admissions' would supply the answer to the conundrum, but it chooses to ignore it: 
 
Section 29: The decision on whether a reason for late application is acceptable will be at the discretion of the School Admissions and Transport Management Team. For situations where it is decided that the reason for late submission is not exceptional and for ALL applications received after this date (December 4th 2020), the application will be held pending until after allocation on the stated offer date and will be processed as part of the ongoing reallocation of vacant places as defined above. 
 
Unfortunately, 'above' can only apply to the two preceding sections where 'reallocation' is briefly mentioned, but no reference whatever is made about late applications, or how they are made. The powers accruing to the School Admissions and Transport Management have gone beyond what is reasonable and probably lawful for many years.
 
In short, I was unable to advise on the way forward, to lodge a late application for Year Seven after March 31st, until I was offered an individual explanation by Medway Council officers, who appear much more helpful than in previous years. It may be that with a change of personnel at the top of the relevant department there is a postive change in attitude. You may find the parental comment here, written before this, a salutary warning!
Good luck!

 
 
 

 

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