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Displaying items by tag: kent

In Kent as a whole, 88% of secondary school places are filled in Year Seven, although the target figure is 90-95%. Under previous governments, pressure was applied to Local Authorities to meet their targets, but now most secondary schools in Kent are academies, government relies on parental preference to see popular schools expand and unpopular ones to disappear. This battle of attrition is now affecting the seven Kent & Medway secondary schools which currently have fewer than fifty per cent of their Year Seven places filled, all having witnessed a sharp decline in their intake numbers over the past four years. For four of these, their unpopularity with families has been underlined by OFSTED failures over this time, ........

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 24 January 2013 22:07

Kent & Medway School League Table Results

For the second time this week, I have been on BBC SE and Radio Kent commenting on a Kent education story (also previous item below) as Government published the GCSE and A Level League tables.  Not only do I have my reservations about the tables as a whole, there are several different ways of presenting them, to make particular points, for high and low performers.  

Not surprisingly, in both Kent and Medway, the grammar schools dominate the top of each set of tables, with no non-selective school intruding on their positions. If one considers the % of students achieving 5 GCSE Grades A*-C or equivalent, including maths and English, just eight out of 39 grammar schools:.....

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

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. 

Published in Newspaper Articles

I am now starting to see the picture relating to Kent & Medway school vacancies. Thanks to those who have provided me with some of the following information; I would be grateful for any information that helps fill out the picture. However, I shan't get the full statistics for Kent schools for another fortnight (FOI). 

It is already clear that with each school choosing its own oversubscription rules many parents are confused about why their child has not got a place at a school of their choice. Unfortunately, more and more schools are choosing rules to suit themselves and there is no longer a system attempting to cater for all. You will find more general information below

This article will be extended as I receive further information, and as I have time to update it. 

Details.......

Published in News Archive

I now have information on the outcome of Kent Headteacher Assessments (Headteacher Appeals) for the Kent Test taken in September. This enables me to update the table and information in the previous item as follows. The two items should be read together. ...........

Published in News Archive

Kent County Council figures show a pleasing increase in the number of children being offered their first choice secondary school on 1st March, up from 80% in 2010 to 83% in 2011. Just 413 got none of their choices.  With nearly 500 fewer Kent children in the system, waiting lists for popular schools are generally much lower this year.  There is a similar picture in Medway with 87% of children being allocated their first choice school, although this is helped by a fall in the age group of nearly 10%.

Last year the eighteen most popular schools each turned away more than 50 children who put them in first place, but this year the same number of schools sees the bar drop to 40 places oversubscribed.

Leigh Technology Academy (Dartford) remains Kent’s most popular school for the fourth year running, with 199 disappointed first choice applicants. Second comes Tonbridge Grammar, with 104 girls who had passed the eleven plus turned away. After Westlands (Sittingbourne) on 94, comes Dartford Grammar School with 88, entering the lists for the first time as applicants from the London Boroughs realised the school was accessible, a third of the places going to high scoring applicants from out of county. Next in line was Judd School (grammar, Tonbridge), followed by: Valley Park School (Maidstone); Fulston Manor School (Sittingbourne); Brockhill Park Performing Arts College (Hythe); Brompton Academy (Gillingham); King Ethelbert School (Margate  – new entry); and The Thomas Aveling School (Rochester).

Then follows Skinner’s School (grammar, Tunbridge Wells ), slipping from its position as most popular grammar school in 2010, and: Folkestone Academy; Dartford Grammar School for Girls;  Canterbury High School; Hillview School for Girls (Tonbridge); Bennett Memorial Diocesan School (Tunbridge Wells); and Simon Langton Girls Grammar School (Canterbury – new entry).

At the other end of the scale, four Kent schools were over half empty before KCC drafted in additional children who had been offered none of their choices: Skinner’s Kent Academy; Angley School (Cranbrook); Walmer Science College, and New Line Learning Academy (Maidstone).  One wonders how some of these schools can continue to function with finances depending on pupil numbers.

The school with the greatest increase in popularity was Dartford Grammar School (up 55 disappointed first choices), the biggest loser was surprisingly Homewood School in Tenterden, down 100, but still oversubscribed.

The pressure of out of county children taking up places in Kent grammar schools is once again greatest in the North West of the county, with 189 children taking up places in the four Dartford Grammar Schools (52 of these coming from as far away as Lewisham and Greenwich) as opposed to just 57 in the three West Kent super selectives, both figures very similar to last year.

Many of these figures will have changed this week as parents had to decide whether to accept places offered and there will be happiness for some, offered places off the waiting lists. As many as 700 further children may gain places through the appeal procedure, although this stressful process goes on until July for some.

Published in Newspaper Articles

Another knotty problem for Michael Gove.

Following Kent secondary school allocations on 1st March just gone, 9% of places in Year Seven were left empty or occupied by children who had not applied for the schools in question. The Audit Commission considers there should be no more than 5% empty spaces in any area or authority. So there is a problem in Kent. However, with 49 of the100 Kent secondary schools either Academies or well on the way and another 36 Foundation or Voluntary Aided schools partially independent of KCC,  the county has lost all control of its ability to plan numbers of places to fit the population, and so has no way of meeting government targets...... (read more)

Published in Newspaper Articles

All data on this page is provided by Kent County Council, often under the Freedom of Information Act. Many thanks to officers for their co-operation.

Kent Secondary Transfer 2017

Kent Test Results 2016 For Admission in 2017
Kent Schools Out of County
Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Other Total

Assessed Suitable for

Grammar Admission 2017

4369 2145 23 6537

Assessed Suitable for

Grammar Admission 2016

2105 2177 4282 1025 940 1966 11 6259

Assessed Suitable for

Grammar Admission 2015

1963 2080 4043 807 889 1696 14 5753

Notes: (1) I don't yet have data for boys and girls differentiated, but will include this as soon as it is available

        (2)  'Other' includes children who are home educated. 

 

Kent Secondary Transfer 2016 

 
 Kent Secondary School Allocations: March 2016
Kent pupils 2016 2015 2014 2013
 
No. of
Pupils
%
No. of
 Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
Offered a first preference 13,159 81.4% 12,796  80.5% 13,092 83.6 12,754 84.2%
Offered a second preference 1,840 11.4%  1,612  10.1% 1,512 9.6% 1,456 9.6%
Offered a third preference 549 3.4%  478  3.1% 478 3.1% 448 3.0%
Offered a fourth preference 196 1.2%  181  1.1% 181 1.2% 129 0.9%
Allocated by Local Authority 428 2.7%  641  4.0% 404 2.6% 357 2.3%
Total number of Kent pupils offered 16172    15894   15,667   15144  
Out of County Applicants to Kent Secondary Schools 2016
Year 2016 2015 2014 2013
Out of county applicants 2,624 2,299 1,991 1,760
Offers to out of county pupils at Kent schools 803 757 602 589

   

Size of Kent Year 6 Cohort
Year 2015 2014 2013
Total number of pupils in the cohort 18,193 17,658 16,904
  

 

Kent Test Results 2015 For Admission in 2016
  Kent Schools Out of County    
  Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Other Total
Assessed Suitable for
Grammar Admission 2016
2105 2177 4282 1025 940 1965 11 6258
Assessed Suitable for
Grammar Admission 2015
1963 2080 4043 807 889 1696 14 5753

 

 

Kent Secondary Transfer 2015
 

 Kent Secondary School Allocations: March 2015
Kent pupils 2015 2014 2013 2012
No. of
 Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
Offered a first preference 12,796  80.5% 13,092 83.6 12,754 84.2% 12,613 82.8%
Offered a second preference  1,612  10.1% 1,512 9.6% 1,456 9.6% 1,481 9.7%
Offered a third preference  478  3.1% 478 3.1% 448 3.0% 505 3.3%
Offered a fourth preference  181  1.1% 181 1.2% 129 0.9% 183 1.2%
Allocated by Local Authority  641  4.03% 404 2.6% 357 2.3% 443 2.9%
Total number of Kent pupils offered  15894 15,667 15144 15,225

 

Out of County Applicants to Kent Secondary Schools 2015
Year 2015 2014 2013 2012
Out of county applicants 2,299 1,991 1,760 1792
Offers to out of county pupils at Kent schools 757 602 589 560

   

Size of Kent Year 6 Cohort
Year 2015 2014 2013
Total number of pupils
in the cohort
18,193 17,658 16,904

 

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2015
2015 2014
Appeals Held Number % Upheld Number % Upheld
Kent Non-Selective 484 30% 335 33%
Kent Grammar 1587 37% 1667 42%
Medway Non-Selective 178 34% 122 24%
Medway Grammar 245 40% 226 47%
TOTAL SECONDARY 2494 35% 2350 40%
Kent Primary 292 0.7% 340 1.5%
Medway Primary  63  1.6% 65 0%

Kent Test Results 2014, for Admission in September 2015

 boys    

 girls     

 total      

 % boys    

 % girls    

 Total %    

Attending primary schools In Area

6895

6528 13423 51% 49% 100%

In area Number who sat sat test*

4336

4415 8751 63% 68% 65%

Automatic Pass

1383

1378 2761 20% 21% 21%

Headteacher Assessment (HTA)

799 

900  1699  47%   53%  100%

HTA Passes

365 

 471 836  5%   7%  6%

Total In Area Passes

 1748

1849  3597  25.4%   28.3%  26.8%

Attending primary schools in Kent

7986

7608 15594

Sat Kent Test

4883 

 5004 9887 

Automatic Pass

1555 1557 3112  19% 20%  20% 

Headteacher Assessment (HTA)

900

994 1894 11% 13% 12%

HTA Passes

408

522 930 4.5% 5.3%

Total Kent  Passes

1963 

2079  4042  25.0%   27.9%  26.4%

Out of County Tested

1324 

1387  2711 

Out of County Automatic Pass

 680

 658 1338 

OOC Headteacher Assessment

 80

88 

168 

OOC HTA Pass

35   45 80 

Total OOC Passes**

 716

 778 1494

 

Kent Secondary Transfer 2014

You will find further commentary here, and about oversubscription and vacancies here

Kent pupils 2014 2013 2012
 
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
Offered a first
preference
13,092 83.6 12,754 84.2 12,613 82.8%
Offered a second 
preference
1,512 9.6% 1,456 9.6% 1,481 9.7%
Offered a third 
preference
478 3.1% 448 3.0% 505 3.3%
Offered a fourth
preference
181 1.2% 129 0.9% 183 1.2%
Allocated by Local
Authority
404 2.6% 357 2.3% 443 2.9%
Total number of Kent 
pupils offered
15,667   15144   15,225  
Year 2014 2013 2012
Out of county
applicants
1,991 1,760 1792
Offers to out of county
pupils at Kent schools
602 589 560

  

Year 2014 2013 2012
Total number of pupils
in the cohort
17,658 16,904  

Kent Grammar School Assessments for Year 6 children, for Admission in September 2014*

You will find commentary here

 

 boys    

 girls     

 total      

 % boys    

 % girls    

 Total %    

Attending primary schools In area

6730

6642 13372 50% 50% 100%

In area who sat test**

3976

4228 8204 48% 52% 100%

Automatic Pass

1481

1311 2792 22.0% 19.7% 20.9%

Headteacher Assessments

636

856 1492      

Headteacher Assessment pass  

323

450 773 4.8% 6.8% 5.8%

Total In area Passes

1804

1761

3565 26.8% 26.5% 26.7%

Out area who sat test

531

565

1096      

Automatic Pass

213

142

375      

Headteacher Assessments

73

81

154      

Headteacher Assessment Pass

28

35

63      

Total Out Area Passes

241

177 418      

Total Kent Passes*

2045

1938 3983      

Out of County Tested

1419

1346 2765      

Out of County Automatic Pass

781

620 1401      

OOC Headteacher Assessment

75

93

168

     

OOC HTA Pass

39 41 80      

Total OOC Passes*

820 

661 

1481 

     

* Total figures slightly different from supporting data, reflecting adjustments. Figures relate to place of school attended, rather than place of residence. Allocation figures in March are based on place of residence. You will find the equivalent figures for the September 2012 tests here

 ** the in area or "selective areas" are those parts of Kent which were historically served by grammar schools, before freedom of choice legislation removed their significance.

Details of Out of County applications and passes

As in previous years, there has been much hysterical debate in the media about the likely impact of the  out of county children who passed the Kent eleven plus. However, as I have forecast previously, the impact is again likely to be much less than other commentators have claimed. The real picture is as follows:

    Sat Test Found selective
% passed of those
who sat Test
Medway boys 128 58 45%
  girls 136 35 26%
Bexley boys 361 196 54%
  girls 401 189

47%

Bromley boys 267 161

60%

  girls 268 164 61%
Other London boys 422 241 57%
  girls 393 194 49%
Sussex

boys

89 63 71%
  girls 50 26 52%
Surrey boys 40 31 78%
  girls 16 12 75%
Other boys 112 71 63%
  girls 82 40 49%
TOTAL   2765 1481 54%

 

 

       Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2014
 
Appeals
Registered
Upheld Turned down
%
upheld
place offered
before appeal
withdrawn

KCC Appeal Panels

Non-selective schools 198 50 71 41% 21 56
Grammar schools  865  298  453  39%  11  103
Appeal Panels organised by Independent Administrators or schools
Kent Non-Selective schools  268                                       59

 155

 28%  24  29
Kent Grammar Schools  688  291  290 50% 41  66
Medway Non-Selective Schools  106  22  67  25%  7  10
 Medway Selective Schools  248 106  120 47%  3  19
Totals       
 Non-Selective Total 572  131  293  31%  52  95
Selective Total 1801 695 863 45% 55 188

 Commentary here.

Kent Secondary Transfer 2013

Commentary here. There are many more statistics relating to 2013 entry in the News and Comment section. 

Kent Pupils

2013

2012

2011

No. of pupils

%

No. of pupils

%

No. of pupils

%

Offered a first preference

12,754

84.2%

12,613

82.8%

12,775 82.7%
Offered a second preference

1,456

9.6%

1,481

9.7% 1,567 10.2%

Offered a third preference

448

3.0%

505

3.3%

533 3.4%
Offered a fourth preference
129

0.9%%

183

1.2%

157 1.1%

Allocated by Local Authority

357 2.3%

443

2.9%

413 2.6%

Total number of Kent pupils offered

15,144 15,225 15,444

Kent and Medway Secondary Appeals 2013

 Further commentary here

 Kent & Medway School Secondary School Appeal Outcomes 2013
Kent County Council Appeal Panels
Type of School
Number of
Appeals
Appeals 
Upheld
Appeals
Rejected
Appeals 
withdrawn
Place offered
before appeal
% successful
appeals of those
heard
Non-selective
(14 schools)
 196  58  30  53  54 66
 Grammar 
(18 schools)
904  382  432  90  5 46
      Kent and Medway Appeals managed by other organisations
 Non-selective
(15 schools)
408 86 168 63 89 34
 Grammar
((18 schools)
567  244  241  54  32 50

2012 Appeal Statistics

It is proving very difficult to obtain these on a county wide basis with so many academies, Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools now arranging their own appeal panels. As I find this data of limited value, I am no longer collecting it, except for Panels organised by KCC. 


Kent 11 Plus Test Results for 2013 Entry
The Kent pass mark is an aggregate of 360 from the three tests, with a requirement for all three scores to be 319 or greater. This standard is chosen to select 21% of all children in the Kent selective areas. Children from the non-selective areas of Kent (served by Angley School, Homewood School, Longfield Academy, Mascall's School, Marsh Academy) and out county candidates have to achieve the same scores. Another 4% of children in the selective areas are added through the headteacher assessment procedure, to bring the total to 25%. The following table shows the outcomes of the test.

boys girls total % boys % girls Total %
Living In area 6946 6629 13575 51% 49% 100%
In area who sat test 3861 4080 7941 56% 62% 58%
Automatic Pass 1501 1358 2859 21.6% 20.5% 21.0%
Headteacher Assessment pass 350 474 824 5.0% 7.2% 6.1%
Total In area Passes 1851 1832 3683 26.6% 27.6% 27.1%
Out area who sat test 471 535 1006
Automatic Pass 175 134 309
Headteacher Assessment Pass 29 46 75
Total Out Area Passes 204 160 364
Total Kent Passes* 2055 2012 4072
Out of County Tested 1273 1213 2486
Out of County Automatic Pass 638 603 1241
OOC Headteacher Assessment 55 55 110
OOC HTA Pass 22 22 44
Total OOC Passes* 665 633 1298

11 Plus Test Results for 2012 Entry
The Kent pass mark is an aggregate of 360 from the three tests, with a requirement for all three scores to be 319 or greater. This standard is chosen to select 21% of all children in the Kent selective areas. Children from the non-selective areas of Kent (served by Angley School, Homewood School, Longfield Academy, Mascall's School, Marsh Academy) and out county candidates have to achieve the same scores. Another 4% of children in the selective areas are added through the headteacher assessment procedure, to bring the total to 25%. The following table shows the outcomes of the test.
Kent Grammar School Assessments for Year 6 children, for Admission in September 2012

  boys girls total % boys % girls Total %
Living In area 7008 6827 13835 51% 49% 100%
In area who sat test 3717 3939 7656 53.0% 57.7% 55%
Automatic Pass 1452 1326 2778 20.7% 19.4% 20.1%
Headteacher Assessment 647 847 1494 9.2% 12.4% 10.8%
Headteacher Assessment pass 322 460 782 4.6% 6.7% 5.7%
Total Passes 1774 1786 3560 25.3% 26.1% 25.7%
Out area who sat test 543 545 1058      
Automatic Pass 185 172 357      
Headteacher Assessment 83 134 217      
Headteacher Assessment Pass 41 54 95      
Total Out Area Passes 226 226 452      
Out of County Tested 1258 1087 2345      
Out of County Automatic Pass 698 559 1257      
OOC Headteacher Assessment 63 51 114      
OOC HTA Pass 24 25 49      
Total OOC Passes 722 584 1306      

 




The number of out county chldren successful in the Kent Test is up from the 1156 of 2010, but only a small proportion of these children actually take up places in Kent grammar schools (137 boys and 117 girls offered places in Kent Grammar schools in March 2011 for admission in September).

 

You will find the data for previous years below but, as I have collected it in more detail for 2012 entry, it is not directly comparable.

 
 

Secondary School Transfer 2011 Entry
Please note that all data below is based on the situation on 1st March. There is considerable subsequent movement before the start of the new school year in September.

Kent County Council figures show a pleasing increase in the number of children being offered their first choice secondary school on 1st March, up from 80% in 2010 to 83% in 2011. Just 413 got none of their choices.  With nearly 500 fewer Kent children in the system, waiting lists for popular schools were generally much lower this year.  However, 66 Kent children who passed the Kent Test and named a grammar school on there application form received none of their preferences. Another 69 such children were offered a place at a non-selective school below the highest placed grammar school on their list (who had presumably put this down as a safety net). KCC in their publicity did not recognise this lattter group as having lost out on a grammar school place although qualified.  Last year the eighteen most popular schools each turned away more than 50 children who put them in first place, but this year the same number of schools sees the bar drop to 40 places oversubscribed. Leigh Technology Academy (Dartford) remains Kent’s most popular school for the fourth year running, with 199 disappointed first choice applicants. Second comes Tonbridge Grammar, with 104 girls who had passed the eleven plus turned away. After Westlands (Sittingbourne) on 94, comes Dartford Grammar School with 88, entering the lists for the first time as applicants from the London Boroughs realised the school was accessible, a third of the places going to high scoring applicants from out of county. Next in line was Judd School (grammar, Tonbridge), followed by: Valley Park School (Maidstone); Fulston Manor School (Sittingbourne); Brockhill Park Performing Arts College (Hythe); Brompton Academy (Gillingham); King Ethelbert School (Margate  – new entry); and The Thomas Aveling School (Rochester). Then follows Skinner’s School (grammar, Tunbridge Wells ), slipping from its position as most popular grammar school in 2010, and: Folkestone Academy; Dartford Grammar School for Girls;  Canterbury High School; Hillview School for Girls (Tonbridge); Bennett Memorial Diocesan School (Tunbridge Wells); and Simon Langton Girls Grammar School (Canterbury – new entry). At the other end of the scale, four Kent schools were over half empty before KCC drafted in additional children who had been offered none of their choices: Skinner’s Kent Academy; Angley School (Cranbrook); Walmer Science College, and New Line Learning Academy (Maidstone).  One wonders how some of these schools can continue to function with finances depending on pupil numbers. The school with the greatest increase in popularity was Dartford Grammar School (up 55 disappointed first choices), the biggest loser was surprisingly Homewood School in Tenterden, down 100, but still oversubscribed. The pressure of out of county children taking up places in Kent grammar schools was once again greatest in the North West of the county, with 189 children taking up places in the four Dartford Grammar Schools (52 of these coming from as far away as Lewisham and Greenwich) as opposed to just 57 in the three West Kent super selectives, both figures very similar to last year. Many of these figures will have changed between March and September, as parents had to decide whether to accept places offered, others being offered places off the waiting lists. As many as 700 further children may have gained places through the appeal procedure.

Kent Pupils
2011
2010
2009
2008
No. of pupils
No. of pupils %
No. of pupils
%
No. of pupils
%
No. of pupils
Offered a school named on the application form
15032 97.33%
15,270
96.1%
15,504
95.5%
15,396
95%
Offered a first preference
12775 82.71%
12,725
80.1%
12,769
78.5%
11,508
70.5%
Offered a second preference
1567 10.15%
1,753
11.0%
1,850
11.5%
2,750
17%
Offered a third preference
533 3.45%
595
3.7%
640
4%
1,138
7%
Offered a fourth preference
157 1.02%
197
1.2%
245
1.5%
N/A
N/A
Allocated by Local Authority
413 2.67
620
3.9%
773
4.5%
840
5.5%
Total number of Kent pupils offered
15445
15,890
16,277
16,236

 

The 2011 figures include 443 offers made to Kent pupils at out of county secondary schools. The 2010 figures include 481 offers made to Kent pupils at out of county secondary schools.

 

Year
2011
2010
2009
2008
Out of County Applicants
1671
1,532
1,554
1,795
Out of County Offers
513
532
521
556

 

Year
2011
2010
2009
2008
Total Numbers of Pupils in the Cohort
17133
17,422
7,831
18,134

 

Secondary school transfer 2010 entry
On allocation day in March, for 2010, most oversubscribed school in Kent for the third consecutive year was the Leigh Academy in Dartford, turning away 218 first choices. This is followed for non -selective schools by, in order: Valley Park School- 112, Homewood School - 110, North School Ashford - 96, Fulston Manor School - 83, Westlands School - 78, Bennett Memorial Diocesan School and Folkestone Academy - 64,  Brockhill Park School - 60, Sandwich Technology College - 57, Mascalls School - 55, Charles Dickens School - 53, and Hayesbrook School - 50. All others are less than 50.
Newcomers to the list are: Brockhill Park (up from 17), Sandwich Technology (up from 48), and Hayesbrook (up from 29). Out go: Aylesford (down from 68  to 15), Maplesdon Noakes (55 to27 ), St Simon Stock (53 to 11)  and Cornwallis (50 to 30 )
For grammar schools most first choices turned away -  Skinners School with 115 (up from 92 but see below); then Judd School- 88 (in top two for past two years); Tonbridge Grammar School - 77 (top last year); Weald of Kent Grammar School - 50; Dartford Grammar School for Girls - 47; Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls  - 39; Maidstone Grammar School - 36; Dartford Grammar School - 35; Queen Elizabeth's Grammar SChool - 34; Simon Langton Grammmar School for Boys - 34; Sir Roger Manwoods School - 33; and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys 32. All others had fewer than 30.
The caution with regard to Skinners is that many parents put them second to Judd and this year in particular the figures are skewed with Skinners offering places to 73 first choices, 39 second choices and 3 third choices (St Olave's is often the third school in this triangle)). Over at Judd there were 120 first choices and 2 second choices offered places so I would argue that Judd is the more oversubscribed – the vagaries of the system!

The Judd School has offered 16 places off the waiting list on 31st March. Clearly this will have a corresponding knock on figure for The Skinners School who initially offered 6 further places. Also of  note are Longfield Academy up 72 first preferences from 64 to 136 (turning away 22 of these), Oakwood Park Grammar  School up 54 (turning away 15 of these) , Chaucer Technology College up 45, Swan Valley Community School up 43. For all the above schools, waiting lists and appeals will see numbers of the children turned away eventually offered places at their first choice school.

There were just 5 Medway schools with vacancies before Medway Council reallocated children who had been given none of their choices. After reallocation, Bishop of Rochester Academy and St John Fisher RC were full, whilst Hundred of Hoo, Chatham Grammar Boys and Chatham Grammar Girls still have spare places. 151 places were taken up by Kent children nearly every school accepting some; with 116 Medway children going the other way into Kent - nearly half of these to Holmesdale. 68 out of the 298 children entered for Medway Reviews were successful.

The following grammar schools each had more than ten vacancies on March 1st: Borden, Clarendon House, Dover Grammar Boys, Folkestone Girls, Harvey, Highworth (heavily oversubscribed with first choices last year!), Invicta. The following grammar schools have four or fewer vacancies (none between four and ten!): Gravesend Boys (heavily oversubscribed with first choices last year!), Gravesend Girls, Wilmington Boys, Wilmington Girls. All other Kent grammar schools were full on National Offer Day.

Non selective schools with vacancies, that were full last year: Hextable, Meopham, Northfleet Girls, St Edmunds Dover, St George's Gravesend, St John's Gravesend, Walmer, Wilmington Enterprise.

Non selective schools full that had vacancies last year: Castle Community, Longfield Academy.

Please note that even though a school is full according to the Planned Admission Number, appeals can and will be successful in some cases. An Independent Appeal Panel has the right to instruct schools to take additional children. Last year the number of successful appeals at oversubscribed schools in Kent ranged from nil to 38. Further, where a grammar school has vacancies, the appeal panel is under no obligation to fill these and won't if there are insufficient children of a 'grammar school standard'.

Five Kent schools had over half their places empty before the Local Authority allocated children, who had not been offered any of their choices, to them.

       
       

Secondary School Appeal Statistics for 2010 entry
I do not publish statistics for individual school appeals, as these are determined by Appeal Panels, not by the schools themselves and so can vary enormously year by year.

Type of Appeal Number Successes % success rate
Community Non Selective Schools 88 45 51
Community Grammar Schools 336 128 40
Foundation & VA Non Sel Schools, organised by KCC 425 247 58
Foundation & VA Grammar Schools, organised by KCC 543 174 32
Foundation & VA Non Sel Schools, appeals not organised by KCC 30 27 75
Foundation & VA Grammar Schools, not organised by KCC 362 135 37
Academies 91 29 22
Total 1696 612 36

Please note:
1) Appeals are only heard for places at grammar schools or non selective schools that are oversubscribed. Grammar  school appelas can be against a decision that the child is not of grammar school ability, that the school is full, or both.

2) the Foundation and VA Non Selective Appeal figures are distorted by 4 schools whose combined 132 appeals were all successful.
3) The Academy figures is distorted by the Leigh Academy's 65 appeals. 
4) Appeals not organised by KCC are managed by a number of different providers

11 Plus Test Results 2011 Entry
The source of the data on this page is Kent County Council. My thanks for their co-operation in this.

Category 2009 entry 2010 entry 2011 entry change
  Number Number   Number
Kent Entrants 9249 9418   -101
OutCounty Entrants 1992 2107   +115
Success Boys 2588 2561   -27
Success Girls 2549 2552   +3
Success Kent 4039 4120 4149 +81
OutCounty Success 1098 993 1156 -105

 

So, of the 11,255 children who sat the Kent Test in September, 5,113 were assessed selective, roughly the same number as last year (11,241). The number of out of county children sitting the test rose by 115, the number of Kent children fell by 101 reflecting a lower number in the age group. However, the number of Kent children passing is up by 81 to 4,120, whilst the number of out county children passing is down by 105 to 993.  

There are 4,458 grammar school places in Kent, so if only Kent children were taking them up, there would be 338 spare places, nearly all in the East of the County. The great unknown is how many out of county children will take up Kent places, as many of them have multiple applications across different counties and Boroughs.

My sense of these figures is - little change.

I have now obtained information on the distribution of successful out of Kent 11 plus candidates, and this shows a remarkable shift in pattern. The number of successful candidates in East Sussex and Surrey is just 40, only 6 higher than the total that were offered places at Judd, Skinners or Tonbridge Grammar last year.  As these schools only take high scorers, many of the ooc children will not be eligible and others will not apply for places. With the lower cohort size in West Kent this really promises to make life easier  for many grammar school applicants in 2011. I am unable to suggest a reason why this reduction has happened, except the possibility that recent publicity has convinced some it is too difficult to  gain entrance to these schools.


Another 302 ooc qualified ooc children come from other London Boroughs astride the rail mainline to Dartford, with 31 from Thurrock. We can assume that all those who are looking to Kent grammar schools realistically, and some will just have taken the test for practice, are looking to the two Wilmington and the two Dartford grammar schools, although the different oversubscription criteria for each afffects the number that will be admitted in the end.
To these, there needs to be added a further 130 Medway children, although many, if not most, of these have taken the Kent Test as a reserve to Medway grammar school places.  Those looking seriously into Kent will be considering grammar schools in Gravesend, Maidstone or Sittingbourne, although the former are likely to come under additional pressure again from the out of county surge, as happened in 2009.

2010 Admissions

For 2010, Most oversubscribed school in Kent for the third consecutive year was the Leigh Academy in Dartford, turning away 218 first choices. This is followed for non -selective schools by, in order: Valley Park School- 112, Homewood School - 110, North School Ashford - 96, Fulston Manor School - 83, Westlands School - 78, Bennett Memorial Diocesan School and Folkestone Academy - 64,  Brockhill Park School - 60, Sandwich Technology College - 57, Mascalls School - 55, Charles Dickens School - 53, and Hayesbrook School - 50. All others are less than 50.
Newcomers to the list are: Brockhill Park (up from 17), Sandwich Technology (up from 48), and Hayesbrook (up from 29). Out go: Aylesford (down from 68  to 15), Maplesdon Noakes (55 to27 ), St Simon Stock (53 to 11)  and Cornwallis (50 to 30 )
For grammar schools most first choices turned away -  Skinners School with 115 (up from 92 but see below); then Judd School- 88 (in top two for past two years); Tonbridge Grammar School - 77 (top last year); Weald of Kent Grammar School - 50; Dartford Grammar School for Girls - 47; Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls  - 39; Maidstone Grammar School - 36; Dartford Grammar School - 35; Queen Elizabeth's Grammar SChool - 34; Simon Langton Grammmar School for Boys - 34; Sir Roger Manwoods School - 33; and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys 32. All others had fewer than 30.
The caution with regard to Skinners is that many parents put them second to Judd and this year in particular the figures are skewed with Skinners offering places to 73 first choices, 39 second choices and 3 third choices (St Olave's is often the third school in this triangle)). Over at Judd there were 120 first choices and 2 second choices offered places so I would argue that Judd is the more oversubscribed – the vagaries of the system!

 

The Judd School has offered 16 places off the waiting list on 31st March. Clearly this will have a corresponding knock on figure for The Skinners School who initially offered 6 further places.

Also of  note are Longfield Academy up 72 first preferences from 64 to 136 (turning away 22 of these), Oakwood Park Grammar  School up 54 (turning away 15 of these) , Chaucer Technology College up 45, Swan Valley Community School up 43.

For all the above schools, waiting lists and appeals will see numbers of the children turned away eventually offered places at their first choice school.

 

There were just 5 Medway schools with vacancies before Medway Council reallocated children who had been given none of their choices. After reallocation, Bishop of Rochester Academy and St John Fisher RC were full, whilst Hundred of Hoo, Chatham Grammar Boys and Chatham Grammar Girls still have spare places. 151 places were taken up by Kent children nearly every school accepting some; with 116 Medway children going the other way into Kent - nearly half of these to Holmesdale. 68 out of the 298 children entered for Medway Reviews were successful.

 

The following grammar schools each had more than ten vacancies on March 1st: Borden, Clarendon House, Dover Grammar Boys, Folkestone Girls, Harvey, Highworth (heavily oversubscribed with first choices last year!), Invicta. The following grammar schools have four or fewer vacancies (none between four and ten!): Gravesend Boys (heavily oversubscribed with first choices last year!), Gravesend Girls, Wilmington Boys, Wilmington Girls. All other Kent grammar schools were full on National Offer Day.

 

Non selective schools with vacancies, that were full last year: Hextable, Meopham, Northfleet Girls, St Edmunds Dover, St George's Gravesend, St John's Gravesend, Walmer, Wilmington Enterprise.

 
Non selective schools full that had vacancies last year: Castle Community, Longfield Academy.
 

Please note that even though a school is full according to the Planned Admission Number, appeals can and will be successful in some cases. An Independent Appeal Panel has the right to instruct schools to take additional children. Last year the number of successful appeals at oversubscribed schools in Kent ranged from nil to 38. Further, where a grammar school has vacancies, the appeal panel is under no obligation to fill these and won't if there are insufficient children of a 'grammar school standard'.

 

Five Kent schools had over half their places empty before the Local Authority allocated children, who had not been offered any of their choices, to them.

Secondary school transfer statistics 2010 entry

Kent Pupils
2010
2009
2008
No. of pupils
No. of pupils
%
No. of pupils
%
No. of pupils
Offered a school named on the application form
15,270
96.1%
15,504
95.5%
15,396
95%
Offered a first preference
12,725
80.1%
12,769
78.5%
11,508
70.5%
Offered a second preference
1,753
11.0%
1,850
11.5%
2,750
17%
Offered a third preference
595
3.7%
640
4%
1,138
7%
Offered a fourth preference
197
1.2%
245
1.5%
N/A
N/A
Allocated by Local Authority
620
3.9%
773
4.5%
840
5.5%
Total number of Kent pupils offered
15,890
16,277
16,236

 

Year
2010
2009
2008
Out of County Applicants
1,532
1,554
1,795
Out of County Offers
532
521
556

 

Year
2010
2009
2008
Total Numbers of Pupils in the Cohort
17,422
17,831
18,134

 

Transfer Appeal Statistics  2009
 

LEA or Community Schools
 
 
School Type Number of Appeals Number of                 Successes % Success Rate
Grammar  391  167  43
 Non Selective  158  99  63
 Primary  367  36  10

Please note that the large majority of successful primary appeals would be for junior classes, as Infant appeals are governed by Infant Class Legislation (see Primary admissions page).

Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools  

 

School Type Number of Appeals Number of                 Successes % Success Rate
Grammar  562  201  36
 Non Selective  215 104  48
 Primary 82 Not known  

In addition there are a number of schools that do not use KCC Appeal Panels. Statistics are not available for these. 

Statistics vary enormously school by school. For grammar schools the proportion of successes range from 76%  of 33 appeals (an LEA school) down to 7% of 108 appeals (a Foundation School). For non selective schools, there were five schools where all appeals were successful, but one Foundation school with just 10% of 20 appeals successful.

 Secondary Transfer Statistics 2009 entry

There was  a total of just 131 vacancies in Kent’s 33 grammar schools, at National Offer Day in 2009  mainly in the east of the county.  The problem is that the 268 out county children who took up places in West and North West Kent Grammar schools displaced many children from these areas eastwards, some to grammar schools they cannot reach daily, with more than 40 boys West Kent boys offered places in Folkestone or Sittingbourne. 

The biggest influx is into the four Dartford grammar schools with 29 children coming from Greenwich and another 15 from Lewisham. Bromley took up 59 Kent grammar school places, Bexley another 56 and East Sussex 50.

Most oversubscribed grammar school was Tonbridge (101 turned away), edging out Judd from last year (95). These were followed by Skinners, Dartford, Weald of Kent, Tunbridge Wells Boys, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells Girls. This year’s problem is highlighted by these eight schools who all turned away more than 40 qualified first choices. Last year there were just three, the same top schools as last year.

However, for the second year running the most oversubscribed school in the county is the Leigh Academy in Dartford, rejecting 200 first choice applicants.

One striking feature of non selective school placements is the wide fluctuation in popularity from year to year. I think the biggest controversy in the county surrounds Valley Park School in South Maidstone, whose popularity has soared this year, turning away 106 first choices, up from 16 in 2008.  Other non selective schools rejecting more than 60 first choices are: Folkestone Academy (newly rebuilt); Homewood (Tenterden); Bennett Memorial (Tunbridge Wells);  Westlands (Sittingbourne), Charles Dickens (Broadstairs), North (Ashford), Archbishops’ (Canterbury); Aylesford (rebuilt under PFI and not even full last year); Mascalls (Paddock Wood) and Fulston Manor (Sittingbourne). Only half these schools were in this list last year showing how difficult it is to predict popularity.

At the other end of the scale, four schools were over half empty before children unsuccessful in any of their applications were allocated to them..

Secondary Transfer Appeal Statistics 2008

LEA or Community Schools

School type Number of Appeals Number of successes % success rate
Grammar 456 184 40
Non Selective 126 68 54

Foundation or Voluntary Aided Schools

These are appeals organised by the KCC for these schools. Many Foundation and VA Schools organise their own appeals and I do not have data for these. 

School Type Number of Appeals Number of successes % success rate
Grammar 540 143 26
Non-Selective 185 101 55

Note: these statistics hide a multitude of sins. One LEA Grammar school had 55 successful appeals, others have very few. Grammar School appeals include both selection appeals (where the child do not pass the Kent test, and oversubscription appeals (where many appellants may have passed the Kent tests and be seeking a place in schools that are full). 

 

Published in Statistics
Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00

Kent Grammar School Appeals

Last updated April 2020: You will find a page about the effects on school appeals of the Coronavirus here.

 Coronavirus: Please note that this article takes no note of potential changes to the Appeal Procedure caused by the Coronovirus pandemic. For latest information go to: School Appeals and Coronavirus: Part 2

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I am afraid I have retired completely from my appeals advisory service, but hope this page offers some general help to assist you.  

You will find data for 2019 Appeals in Kent and Medway for 2019 entry here and more information about individual Kent schools and appeal numbers and success rates here

First piece of advice is – don’t panic. You will not get an earlier appeal or a better hearing by sending in your case early. If you are not ready, make sure you record your appeal by the closing date, using such words as “I am appealing for….... I will send in my detailed case when it is ready”. This enables you to take advice or plan your appeal without additional pressure (it is already stressful enough!), but make sure from the school website you know when the appeals are being heard and ensure your further information  is submitted in good time. If yours is one of the few academies that organises early appeals, such as Highsted and Borden grammar schools, it is essential to get the appeal lodged early, for although there is no statutory time limit for appealing, lodging a late appeal may find the school full after others have been heard.

As well as this section, I recommend that you read my general information page on school appeals.  Parents will  received an appeal form with their allocation decision letter in March

Background
Kent and Medway grammar school testing takes place in September. Many Kent children who have not initially passed the Kent Test are given a second chance through the Kent Headteacher assessment (HTA) process  in October (although this is by headteacher recommendation and parents are not made aware of whether their children are included).  It is not always advantageous to have gone  down this route for, if unsuccessful, the Report of the HTA is presented to any appeal panel, and can prove counterproductive. Medway parents are offered a Review of any non selective decision in November, but are advised to read the Review section of this website before doing so. You will find a fuller explanation of the two processes through the links. These stages take place before the selective decision is confirmed.

In any case, parents need to be aware that if their child is unsuccessful in the test, or in HTA or Medway Review, there is no right to appeal until after school allocation, 1st March (for 2020 entry). You cannot appeal against a non selective decision in general and your right to appeal is to a particular school which has not offered your child a place. Whilst appeals usually begin in April/May, some may not be heard until late June.

There is a basic division between grammar schools run by the county (community schools and voluntary controlled) and the academies, foundation and voluntary aided schools that form the majority. County run grammar schools use KCC's own Appeals service run independently of the education department. The other schools and academies each have their own approach to appeals: some using a county independent appeal panel; others engaging an independent panel administrator to run appeals for them; the remainder (a small minority) choosing their own appeal clerk and panel members. Some wish to admit additional pupils, others resist strongly. These produce a wide range of success rates, both from county to county and for individual schools within counties. You will find appeal history and further information for each individual school here. I advise you, in the case of academies, foundation or VA schools who use an administrator or provide their own Independent Appeal Panel, to contact the school which may be willing to offer the school perspective. Some grammar schools are regularly oversubscribed with successful candidates, particularly in West Kent. If you are deprived of a place on this basis, you still have the right to appeal.

Parents can only appeal to a school they have named on the application form, so choice of schools remains critical. However, in Kent if you choose not to apply for a particular grammar school, you still have the right to apply using the In Year Admission Process after the closing date for acceptance of offers (usually late March) and if turned down because your child has not taken the test (in which case they will be asked to sit it), or has not passed the test, or the school is full, you can appeal. However, this route carries additional risk if the school is likely to be full after the normal round of appeals. 

What follows is somewhat rambling, as there is no foolproof guide to winning appeals and different points will carry weight with different individual panels. Remember that an Appeal Panel provided by KCC will be drawn from a pool of around a hundred volunteers. All are required to be trained, but in the appeal room each will have their own rules. 

General
There are four main situations with regard to grammar school appeals:

1) The child has not been found selective and there are spaces available

2) The child has not been found selective  and the school is full.

3) The child has been found selective and the school is full;

4) The school is 'super selective'  and the child has not reached this year's cut off score, or has lost out on distance grounds

In all cases you should explain (briefly) why you are appealing for the particular school. This will be based on knowledge, including a visit to the school, and you can expect to be asked about this. Do not simply rely on quoting from the Prospectus! In the first two cases, your main task is to show your child is of grammar school ability (see below). In the other two, as well as confirming ability, you need to focus on your child's qualities and what they can bring to the school. 

It is my personal view that if the school is full you should not spend time focusing on why it can admit additional pupils; the Panel will do that themselves and have the expertise to ask the right questions. Your task is to show why your child 'needs' to be at that school. 

I am strongly of the view that an appeal letter should not be of more than a page and a half, although the style is irrelevant. Appeal Panels are solely interested in relevant content, so make it easy for them.  There is no purpose in enclosing lots of supporting letters showing what a good person your child is at their various sports and activities. A paragraph to cover these is usually sufficient and I have tended to recommend no more than one such letter, many families have none and will not be disadvantaged.

Remember, the Panel may have many cases to consider, and no more than half an hour for any one. Your task in that short time is to convince the panel your child is right for the school, they will not thank you for large amounts of extraneous documents.

(1 & 2) The Case
I am often asked what scores are likely to be successful in a grammar school appeal. This is an impossible question to answer and Appeal Panels will wish to take other factors into account. These may include
  • what evidence do you have to demonstrate that your child is of grammar school ability (essential);
  • what special circumstances do you have that will convince a panel that your child underperformed at the Kent Test;
  • be aware of whether the school is oversubscribed or does it need or want additional pupils;
  • was there a Head Teacher Assessment. What did it say;
  • what support is forthcoming from the primary school;
  • does your child have Special Education Needs? Different Panels will have their own views on this one. 

You are most unlikely to achieve success at a Kent appeal if no score is above the 110 of 2020 entry (but look at success rates; there may be one or two where you could stand a chance with strong evidence). 

Central to any successful appeal on grounds of a non-selective assessment by the Local Authority is EVIDENCE  that the child is of grammar school ability. Without it you are almost certainly wasting your time and that of the Panel of volunteers who hear your appeal.

Appeal Panels will expect to see:
  • a Headteacher Letter of academic support for the child (telling the Panel that he or she is a lovely person, kind to animals, engages in sports or other extra-curricular activities etc, is of limited value);
  • a recent positive school Report
  • probably through one of the above, or in addition, evidence of school assessments such as CATs, SAT pre-tests, National Curriculum Levels, and alternatives indicating a grammar school performance.

Private, paid for assessments,  however strong as alternatives, rarely carry weight; it is the school view that is regarded as objective and fair (usually, although a Panel that knows the local scene may also know their schools!), with letters from Private Schools that have taken your child's fees to help them succeed sometimes being treated according to Panel preferences. Letters from tutors are often taken as negatives (if your child cannot succeed with tutoring, they may not be deemed suitable for grammar school) 

Other possible relevant factors that parents may put forward include

  •  the selection panel was missing information which can lead to a different decision – e.g. medical condition or family circumstances not reported which affected the child's performance, but can be demonstrated;
  •  information provided was incorrect – you have the right to see all relevant documentation.

You may also succeed if none of these apply but marks are near the cut off and you find a sympathetic appeal panel. If none of the above apply, your chances are low; so plan an alternative route for your child’s secondary education – although each year I am delighted to hear of successful appeals which originally looked unpromising.

I am regularly asked what the significance of particular medical conditions or family circumstances will be. Again impossible to answer. Whatever you put forward, the Appeal Panel will first need to be convinced that the child is of grammar school ability from the evidence you are able to supply. The extenuating circumstances you supply then allow the Panel to understand if and why the child underperformed at the Kent Test. Each Panel will have its own view on what is a valid case, which may well vary according to the pressure on places, so you can but try.  Death or illness of relatives or pets occur with astonishing regularity, so don't place too much faith in these.  

(3 & 4) The Case
There is no formula for winning appeals, the key points are to emphasis the qualities of your child and why they need to be at that particular school. Over the years I have seen many different types of appeal win through. 

Kent Grammar Schools

At all Kent grammar school appeals against a non-selective decision, the Kent test scores and any HTA report will be distributed to the Panel and parents. This also has the effect of eliminating false parental claims about the results. Some parents have not seen the HTA document before, so make sure you ask to see it before writing your appeal, as this is likely to have an influence on your case.

In most cases, the Panel will also be told the school to which you were allocated on 1st March. This presents a problem for some parents of children who have passed the Kent Test making multiple applications to grammar schools. Where the school is non-super selective, if you are awarded a grammar school lower on your list, the Panel may decide that because the school is oversubscribed your needs have already been met by the lower school, and give preference to those without a grammar school. In at least one area, where the panel tends to be drawn from a small group of panellists, they see appeals from parents who have put down only one grammar school to benefit from this policy. However, the panel has become wise and will not look on these as a priority, sometimes leaving the child without a grammar school. Life can become difficult!

There are number of websites and books offering advice on how to succeed at appeal. Most of these offer general advice, not tailored to specific schools or local authorities, and so are of limited value. 

A good website for general information on admissions and appeals is: eleven plus exams. However, you need to treat the contributions with caution. It is  Buckinghamshire based but, whilst the school appeal advice varies considerably from the many varieties in Kent, it can be very helpful. There is also a lot of forum discussion about West Kent issues, often very different from those in the rest of the county. 

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    The background to the new school briefly is that, first of all, KCC overestimated the number of secondary aged children coming through the system in Thanet to justify commissioning a new school. The Council then backtracked, with the 2020-2024 Kent Schools Commissioning Plan explaining (p137) how they could comfortably manage the small long term pupil number deficit by expanding two of the District’s six non-selective schools.

    Park Crescent Academy

    The real problem is that two of the Thanet schools are so unpopular with some families to the extent that 189 children were allocated to them in March who never applied to either. Others were offered places in Sandwich and Deal schools, some miles away. The full background to the controversy is explained here. When the new school opens, with a planned intake of 180 children, at least one of these schools is likely to become unviable. As a result, KCC’s introduction to the Planning Permission Consultation is quite simply dishonest, as explained below.

    One of the problems with the new school, now to be called Park Crescent Academy after one of the adjacent roads, is that the site on which it is to be built is very cramped as can be seen from the projection above, and explained below. The new academy will replace the residential Royal School for the Deaf which was closed down in 2015, see below. One of the consequences of the limited space, set out below, is that the school will have no sixth form.

    Written on Saturday, 05 September 2020 18:23 1 comment Read more...
  • Further Trauma at St Thomas' Catholic Primary School

    Update, 9th September: In a sign of the level of crisis at St Thomas Catholic Primary, Dr Simon Hughes, Director of Education and Schools Commissioner at the Catholic Diocese of Southwark, has been appointed a governor at the school with immediate effect. See further details below

    The Chair of the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership wrote to parents of St Thomas Catholic Primary School on 17th June to inform them that the headteacher, Mrs Aquilina, was being given ‘special leave until the end of the academic year’. This followed a safeguarding incident which created considerable concern and debate, the absence being widely and reasonably assumed to be a formal suspension from her responsibilities because of the safeguarding issue.

    On July 25th, at the end of the summer term, he wrote again ‘We have now reached the end of the academic year and can confirm that Mrs Aquilina will be returning to her role of Headteacher at St Thomas’ Primary on 1 September 2020…. A meeting with parents and carers of St Thomas’ will be held at the start of the new academic year’

    Yesterday, 1st September, Mr Powis, the Chair of KCSP, wrote again to parents, to inform them that Mrs Aquilina will now be ‘on special leave for the foreseeable future’. The letter unsurprisingly contains no further explanation of the change of direction and no mention of the meeting for parents promised in the previous letter. This may be because of legal issues. 

    Written on Tuesday, 01 September 2020 19:59 Be the first to comment! Read more...
  • Coronavirus and School Transport in Kent and Medway: Part Three

     Update: It has been suggested that the fall in take-up for the Kent Travel Pass is partly due to some families deciding not to send their children back to school at this time. It will soon become clear if this is a factor.  

    Following on from the TUI holiday flight incident and the failure of passengers to follow rules, it is relevant to note the following

     Government statement: 'We do not expect drivers to police pupil behaviour. Their role is to focus on driving the vehicle safely' whilst KCC considers that 'Children travelling on these services will be required to wear face coverings for those over 11 and without an exemption'.

    But from Stagecoach, one of the largest school contractors in Kent:  ‘Our drivers will not refuse travel or apply any enforcement measures, but we appeal to students and parents to ensure that this is taken seriously and that a face-covering is worn at all times when on the bus’.

    It is not surprising that, partly as a result of this and partly through matters relating to social distancing, parental caution has seen the number of applications for the Kent travel passes fall by over half for September. Those for age 11-16 are down from around 24,000 normally to just 12,557 for September, with 16+ passes down from around 7,000 to 2,280. Most of the missing families will now be driving their children to school by car, swelling the road traffic considerably across the county at the two peak school times.

    There is likely as a consequence to be travel chaos at peak periods particularly in areas where there are several secondary schools close together. Three towns spring to mind: Canterbury, Sittingbourne and Tunbridge Wells, but I am sure there are others. One can also add in schools served by narrow roads as explained in a previous article entitled The Coronavirus Effect on the 'School Run' in Kent, Part 2 which I wrote two weeks ago, and looks at the developing problems of getting children to school.  

    I also look below at transport matters contained in new advice published by the government on Friday around 5.30 p.m. This sets fresh expectations for schools from the start of the new term, for many just five days in advance, including a weekend and a bank holiday. It contains 18 pages of advice, some wise and helpful, some very belated, some trivial and some patronising.  Finally, a look at Brockhill Park and Ebbsfleet Green Primary Schools. 

    Written on Monday, 31 August 2020 19:26 2 comments Read more...
  • Academy and Free School News August 2020

    There are just five schools that have converted to become academies in 2020, including the four which came together to be the EKC (East Kent Trust) in March.  These are: Briary Primary, Herne Bay; Bysingwood Primary, Faversham; Holywell Primary, Upchurch; and Queenborough School, Isle of Sheppey. I have written extensively about the new Trust here.  The month before, the failed Sunny Bank Primary in Sittingbourne became a sponsored academy with The Island Learning Trust on the Isle of Sheppey. Background here

    I also look below at the new applications to become academies of: Marden Primary, near Tonbridge; Eastchurch Primary, Isle of Sheppey; Holy Trinity VA Primary, Gravesend; Worth Primary, Deal; and Fairview Primary and Oaklands School in Gillingham, two schools converting to become part of the Westbrook Trust. The re-brokering of the failed Delce Academy to the Inspire Partnership Academy Trust has also taken place. Update: 4/9/20. The conversions of Marden, Eastchurch and Oaklands have now taken place. 

    There are six new free schools opening in Kent in September including one new secondary school, Maidstone School of Science and Technology.  There are three new primary schools: Bearsted Primary Academy in Maidstone; Ebbsfleet Green Primary in Dartford; Springhead Park Primary in Gravesham; and two Special Schools, Aspire School in Sittingbourne and Snowfields Academy in Maidstone. 

    I look at other decisions of the South East and South London Headteacher Board of the Regional Schools Commissioner, relating to the Barnsole Trust, Folkestone Academy and Holmesdale School, along with an item relating to the North West Kent Alternative Provision Service.

    Written on Thursday, 27 August 2020 05:47 Be the first to comment! Read more...
  • Griffin Schools Trust: A Danger for Pupils?

    I have followed the misfortunes of the Griffin Schools Trust for many years since it took over four primary schools as academies in Medway, then having Wayfield Primary taken away from it in 2016, following a catastrophic Ofsted Report that highlighted 'Pupils’ safety and well-being are at risk; Staff manage pupils’ behaviour poorly; Normal discipline has broken down; On occasion, staff lose control of pupils, who are then at risk of being harmed'  a theme echoed in the most recent Ofsted report on a Griffin school: 'Many pupils do not feel safe attending this school. They feel intimidated by others’ conduct. Pupils are right to be concerned. Leaders have not been effective in managing pupils’ behaviour. It is increasingly rowdy and sometimes dangerous', this time about Stantonbury International, a school which had been the largest in the country when they took it over, although unsurprising it now has numbers falling sharply. Two recent articles in Education Uncovered focus on the Trust, its failures and its control by a small coterie of four individuals, three of whom have run it since its foundation in 2013. 

    One is left in bewilderment as to why the Education Funding Agency awarded Stantonbury to the Griffin  Schools Trust in the first place, with their limited experience of running just one other secondary school, which it has now brought down to Ofsted 'Requires Improvement' and why it has not now closed the Trust down. This is what eventually happened with two other notorious Academy Trusts which also operated in Kent

    Written on Saturday, 22 August 2020 06:00 Be the first to comment! Read more...