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Friday, 05 December 2014 00:00

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......


       Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2014
Turned down
place offered
before appeal

KCC Appeal Panels

Non-selective schools 198 50 71 41% 21 56
Grammar schools  865  298  453  39%  11  103
Primary Schools:
Infant Class Legislation
537 5 355 1.4% 30 147
Other Primary schools
 43  19  11  63%  8  5
Appeal Panels organised by Independent Administrators or schools
Kent Non-Selective schools  268                                       59


 28%  24  29
Kent Grammar Schools  688  291  290 50% 41  66
Medway Non-Selective Schools  145  29  93  24% 10  13
 Medway Selective Schools  248 106  120 47%  3  19
 Non-Selective Total 572  131  293  31%  52  95
Selective Total 1801 695 863 45% 55 188
Primary Total 580 24 366  6% 38 152

I have written several information articles about school appeals: Kent Grammar Schools; Medway Grammar Schools; Appeals to non-selective schools and oversubscribed grammar schools; and primary schools.

There is limited value in knowing the number of successful appeals for individual schools, although I have indicated these where they are particularly interesting or consistent, in the Individual School section of the website. The reason for this is that the number or proportion of successful appeals for a school can vary enormously from year to year, often reflecting a change in popularity or of circumstances, but can reflect the membership of the Panel.  In particular, I anticipate considerably more Kent grammar school appeals for 2015 entry, as the new test has produced a far higher proportion of children who have missed the pass standard by just a few marks as explained here.  

For example in 2013, Wrotham School offered places to all 13 of the children whose families appealed; in 2014, in 2014, 10 appeals were unsuccessful out of 23 heard. At The Harvey Grammar School in 2013, 36 out of 55 appeals were successful, in 2014, just 5 out of 30 – this being the result of an increased intake through the alternative of the Shepway Test, the final intake remaining very similar in both years, although many parents were freed from the stress of the appeal process.  

Others are more consistent: Skinners and Judd Schools changed their appeals organiser for 2013, following numerous complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman. For the past two years, neither school has seen more than five successful appeals. Bennett Memorial School also changed to the same Appeal Administrator in 2013, with similar appeal results in the past two years.

Some non-selective schools have avoided the appeals procedure completely in recent years, often by waiting to see how many appeals there are then offering all appellants places before any individual appeals are heard. These have included in at least one recent year: Hayesbrook, Hillview, Rainham Girls, The Canterbury Academy, Westlands amongst others. Wilmington Academy was the only secondary school where no appeals were successful, although Bennett Memorial, Herne Bay High, and Leigh Academy all saw less than 10% of appeals upheld.

Some grammar schools have increased their number of places available before appeal, and then encouraged appeal panels to uphold a larger number of appeals to fill the extra places. Until a couple of years ago, it was very difficult to win appeals at Norton Knatchbull, but in the past two years they have increased their number of places from 150 to 180 on allocation in March  and then encouraged appeal panels to look more flexibly on what is a ‘grammar school standard’.  No guarantee it will happen again for 2015 entry!

I have previously written an article on the problems of wining an appeal at the Dartford and Wilmington Grammar Schools, due to the huge pressure on places from London children.

Kent County Council organises all appeals for county controlled schools and is an option for all other schools and academies. A number of other organisations, and sometimes the schools themselves provide appeal panels for the remaining schools. 

Where I think the figures for individual secondary schools are significant fro 2014 admission I will place them in the Individual Schools section, when I have time to update these. However, this will not be for some time as I am fully committed on other matters at present.

Complaints about Appeals

Some parents are unhappy about the way their appeals are conducted, but the chance of success when complaining is also falling year on year. This is partly because more schools are becoming academies and complaints about academy and free school admission appeals are considered by the Education Funding Agency, a branch of the Department for Education which also manages many aspects of the academies themselves. In 2011 there were three successful complaints in Kent and Medway, two by clients of mine, in 2012 again 3 successful complaints, and in 2013, just 2 out of 21 complaints considered.

I don't have recent statistics for complaints made to the Local Government  Ombudsman about schools other than academies and Free Schools, as the organisation is changing the way it collects data, but you will find the most recent figures I have here.  The LGO certainly has a more thorough approach to deciding complaints, and I believe one not loaded so much in favour of the school. 

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 23:13

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