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Displaying items by tag: admissions

Six years ago, Kent County Council tightened up its regulations (page 16) on home addresses declared on primary school admission applications following my lobbying about the issue over previous years. However, whilst the rules for county-maintained secondary schools may be similar, the explanation (page 11) of how they operate appears to have been designed primarily so as not to offend anyone. In the same vein, many academies treat this issue as one of minimal importance and, for example, the Eleven Plus website regularly contains discussion of short term temporary addresses to secure places, for example posted two days ago: ‘I live in London and the cut-off date for CAF is 31st of October….If I can get a rental agreement in place before 1st of Nov I can apply to Kent directly’.  I have written two previous articles on this issue here and here, having lobbied for several years previously without effect. One problem is that KCC delegates responsibility for investigating and establishing such fraudulent applications even for its own schools, including small primaries.

A few Kent schools treat this issue with the seriousness it observes, notably Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar which sets out its rules and the consequences of breaking them very clearly, see below.

I appreciate that some of those parents who use devices to secure places at the schools that break the rules don't see themselves as committing fraud and don't think about the children deprived of places by their actions. A previous Schools Adjudicator, previously a Deputy Director of Education for Kent,  came up with ten  'popular' means of outwitting the system. However, I have no intention of reproducing these and, because few are picked up, there is no way of estimating the scale of the problem.   

I appreciate this is not the best year for schools to commit additional resources to identify such cases, but it would send out a powerful message if more schools would investigate possibilities One simple device for secondary schools is to look at the current primary school of the child and if it is out of area to investigate further! 

Published in News and Comments
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Article on School Appeal Outcomes for 2021 to be posted shortly. 

This news item is essentially a guide to a host of information and advice articles for local families looking to make applications for secondary school places in state schools in Kent and Medway next September, together with 2021 appeal outcomes. You will find Kent County Council's Admission Guide for Secondary School Admissions here, although it is difficult to find one for Medway (although required by law), so parents appear to have to settle for here. Across the country, families will be making use of their own Local Authority co-ordinated admissions schemes and make applications by the national closing date of Sunday 31st October, although Kent extends this to Monday 1st November. The co-ordination then spreads across county boundaries to take in cross-border applications, in a gigantic data handling mechanism.

The most important news is that last year, whilst just 70% of Kent families were awarded their first choice school, this was an exceptionally low figure, caused by a one-off change in the application procedure because of Covid, the norm is nearer 80% and I would expect something similar for 2022 entry. Unfortunately, Medway does not issue this information, but I believe it will be higher.  

Around half of all K & M families will apply for grammar school places, with the results of the Kent Test due out next Thursday 21st October. The Medway Test results have already been sent to parents, with the outcomes of the Review process to be posted on 22nd October.

I am currently updating all the relevant articles, but even those still to be tackled can be highly relevant, although they may be up to a year out of date I am afraid. I am also preparing my article surveying 2021 appeals outcomes, although you will already find the data for every school that held appeals this year in my Individual Schools sections for Kent and Medway.

There is also a list of all the key sections, with a link to them, on the right-hand side of this page, followed immediately afterwards by a link to become a subscriber to my news and blog items as they are published (no charges, no unwanted advertising).

Published in News and Comments

Update: An article written in March, entitled 'Oversubscription and Vacancies in Kent Non-Selective Schools on Allocation for 2018' takes a closer look at the issues in Thanet and Tunbridge Wells, the latter being especially alarming.

Update 7 November
This article triggered a wider and more general look at pressures on school places across Kent and Medway on BBC SE this evening 

The problems in both areas have been caused by the failure of appropriate sponsors to come forward to adopt planned new schools. This is happening because of the seriously flawed government Free Schools process, which is now required to deliver all new schools.

Large temporary or permanent expansions of other local schools in these two Districts are now necessary to meet the shortfalls, which will inevitably cause a change of character in them, if indeed they give approval. The independence of academies means that KCC has no power to force them to take additional children, although it is legally responsible for the provision of sufficient places!  

Neither District had a single vacancy on allocation of places last March, in spite of Thanet schools managing to creating an additional 71 places to meet requirements, with a further estimated 183 places needed for 2018. New plans for a proposed Free School include a possible temporary base in Deal, 16 miles along the coast from 2019, if other places cannot be found locally for that year.  

In Tunbridge Wells, 190 temporary places have been proposed for 2018 if agreed by the schools concerned, with ongoing discussions for subsequent years. Unfortunately, the site for a proposed new Free School in TW has now been lost, and a replacement cannot be delivered until at least 2021, so the future looks very unclear.  

I expand on the proposals for the two Districts below….

Published in News and Comments
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 04:41

Secondary School Admissions and Appeals: What I offer

Please note, as recorded elsewhere I have retired from offering a full appeals service.

However, I am happy to offer my Telephone Consultation Service for school admission and appeal matters to Kent and Medway families, looking to Kent and Medway non-selective and grammar schools.

If you wish to find out more, please go to the Contact Me page, for further details and complete the form as fully as possible.

I have been working with local families for thirteen years, and so have gathered unrivalled and independent experience and knowledge in the areas described in the pages of this website. In particular, I hope the large amount of free information and advice provided in the Information Section at the top right of this page will answer many potential queries.

For grammar school admissions and appeal advice, I do not provide general background before test results are known, as it becomes too speculative.

Published in News and Comments

This article was written for Kent on Sunday March 7th, but inadvertently not published here until later. My apologies

Kent and Medway secondary allocation figures have been published today, both Kent and Medway figures showing a worrying fall in the proportion of children being awarded any of the four schools (six in Medway) on their secondary school application form, with 641 Kent children and 155 Medway children not getting any school they have chosen. This is a rise of 237 children in Kent, the highest proportion in recent years, totalling 4% of the total being allocated places by KCC. In Medway, there has been an increase in Local Authority allocations in each of the past four years, taking the LA allocation figure to a record 5%. 

The four key factors are likely to be:.........

Published in Newspaper Articles

This article is being updated as fresh information is received. You will find the parallel article on Medway here.

Good news for 13,092 Kent families  who have been allocated to their first preference secondary school, at 83.6 %, a slight dip on 2013, but otherwise higher than any other recent year, with, for example, the 2008 figure being just 70.5%. You will find previous outcomes here.  Coupled with this is an overall fall in the number of children allocated places by Kent County Council over the same period. These are children who were offered none of their four choices of school. In 2008 there were 840 such children, but by 2014 this has fallen to just 404. Of course this is no consolation to the parents of those 404  children, but over the next few months, through waiting lists, re-allocation and school appeals I am sure the majority of those children who are still seeking an alternative school will find one. 

You will find considerable free  advice about appealing elsewhere on this website, together with details about my services.  

The full set of data released by KCC, together with some older statistics I have retained is as follows: ........

Published in News and Comments
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Updated Sunday 2nd March

I have now received most of the relevant statistics relating to admissions in Medway. Its press release figures for 2013 entry are: nearly 86% being awarded their first choice; more than 7 per cent their second place preference; and over 2 per cent their third preference.  I also collected further information on the infomation relating to individual schools through an FOI , which has enabled me to complete the table below showing comparisons with previous years. I am awaiting another dealing with out of Medway children taking up places in Medway secondary schools. This will enable me to further separate out the data I have. 

Medway Pupils 2013 2012 2011
  Number % % %
Offered a first preference 2425 86.0% 86.7% 87.2%
Offered a place at one of their top three choices 2678 95.0% 97.7% 96.9%
Offered a place at one of their six choices 2730 96.8% 98.6% 98.1%
Allocated a place by Medway Council 90 3.2% 1.4% 1.9%
Total number in Cohort 2820   2949

2905

Published in News Archive

To be updated after 4 p.m. Friday

For 2013 entry, a record 84.2% of Kent children have been offered their first choice of secondary school on allocation, although this still leaves 2390 disappointed to a greater or lesser degree. However, I estimate well over half of these will be offered a higher choice of school through what I call the ’churning’ process. Churning happens as places are freed up by successful appeals elsewhere and children being offered places off waiting lists. Each successful move creates a further space at another school, and so the process trickles down over the summer months, with the least popular schools losing students without replacement.

So what should you do if you are not offered the school of your choice? First piece of advice is - don’t panic and don’t do something you might regret later. There is no advantage in getting your appeal in first so resist the temptation to dash off a letter to the school of your choice which may hinder what you want to say later.........

Published in News Archive
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Thursday, 28 February 2013 19:45

Fraudulent school admission offers

I am regularly consulted by parents concerned that others are abusing the school admission system, by either fraudulent applications or 'bending' the rules' to gain a place at their preferred school and my advice is always to bring it to the attention of the authorities as they are depriving a child who has a greater right to a place at the school of their choice. This news item has its root in a concern I expressed to Kent County Council in November about the vagueness of the definition of the "child's only or main residence' in the Kent rules, which appears open to wide interpretation and hence manipulation by parents  who understandably want their child to go to their preferred school. I wrote an article back in 2010, covering some of the issues which are still current.These issues have been covered by Radio Kent, BBC SE and Meridian today (Friday)........
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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
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