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Displaying items by tag: appeals

Friday, 22 September 2017 19:42

Appeal Outcomes in Kent, Kent Panel Results

Important Update: This article is now complemented by a second, which looks at the outcomes of appeals organised other than by Kent and Medway County Councils (around 40% of the total)

This article looks at school admission appeals in Kent and Medway heard by Appeal Panels organised by the two Local Authorities. I will publish another article later when I have outcomes of appeals set up by schools themselves, either using a commercial or professional organisation, or else organised by the school. 

The success rate for grammar appeals has risen from 32% in 2016, to 37%. This was helped by sharp rises at several schools, led by the Invicta Grammar with a success rate up from 60% to an astonishing 89% for the 65 girls appealing,  and Simon Langton Grammar Girls, rates so high they can only bring the system into disrepute.

At the other end of the scale, the four Dartford grammar schools were the only ones with a success rate of less than 10%, indeed the only schools below 25%, headed up by Dartford Girls Grammar, with NO successful appeals out of 93 heard.

For non-selective schools, the success rate fell from 32% to 23%. Trinity, Sevenoaks, saw all five appeals succeed with St Anselm’s Catholic 79% of the 11 appeals heard. Both St Simon Stock Catholic (30 heard) and George’s CofE, Gravesend (6) turned down all appeals.

For primary schools, just one success each in Kent and Medway schools where Infant Class Legislation applies.

Further details below, along with a report of the untimely death of  Frank Pinnington, one of the best Appeal Administrators in the business. 

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Monday, 11 September 2017 02:21

Complaints about Academy and Free School Apppeals

I am regularly asked regarding possible complaints about Admission Appeals to academies and Free Schools, and respond that it is rare such complaints succeed.

I now have the data for academies and Free Schools for the past two years, and this underlines how difficult it is. Across Kent and Medway there were 53 complaints to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) in the two years, and not one was successful, although two found maladministration without injustice, i.e. the panel made mistakes but these made no difference to the outcome.

Nationally there were 461 complaints, possible injustice was found in 20 of these, and 36 were found to have maladministration with no injustice.

Further details and comment below.

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Success rates at admission appeals for Kent and Medway secondary schools have fallen significantly for 2015 for the second successive year, with chances of success at primary school appeals remaining extremely low, as can be seen from my previous article on 2014 appeals. You will find further historic data for Kent here, and for Medway here

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%

The secondary figures hide enormous differences between schools, and variations from year to year, key figures being given in the Individual School sections for Kent and Medway elsewhere om this website, as these are updated.

For grammar schools, numbers range from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar (Ramsgate) with 146 appeals (up from 102 last year) of which 33 were upheld, through to Cranbrook School, one appeal (6 last year) which was not upheld. For non-selective schools, highest were St George’s CofE in Broadstairs with 68 appeals (13 successful), and Brompton Academy in Medway with 58 appeals (7 successful), through to three schools with no successful appeals.

For Infant Schools where Infant Class Legislation applies (see below), there were 355 appeals heard across Kent and Medway by Local Authority Panels, with just 3 successful.

You will find further information and advice on school appeals here, with more data and explanation of the 2015 figures below…..

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Friday, 03 July 2015 19:42

Kent Advice School Appeals Consultancy

I regret to inform browsers and other enquirers that I am retiring from my appeals consultancy with effect from the end of this term. Whilst I have enjoyed a gratifying level of success, I have found the past year especially hard work, accompanied by personal health difficulties. Just two clients were unsuccessful in appealing for a school of their choice this summer, and over the past eleven years I have prepared more than 800 appeals, with a success rate of over 95% and learned a great deal about schools and the admissions and appeals process on the way. With regard to the success rate, to be fair I have only taken on clients where I have seen a chance of winning, and so have disappointed many enquirers where I have felt unable to deliver.

I fully intend to keep my other educational activities going, including this website offering information, advice, news and comment, together with my campaigns and telephone consultancy, with the latter also likely to provide limited support for appeals but constrained by time available.

The Telephone Consultancy service has mushroomed, although as a result I find I am having to be more selective in the areas of advice offered, focusing mainly on school admissions, again because of time constraints. A big area of my work now caters for advising expatriates coming to Kent, with several new clients every week.

As many of you will have noted, my website is not up to date in several areas, a situation I plan to rectify over coming months. In particular I have to remove references to my appeals consultancy. In the past year, it has proved more popular than ever, and attracted 193,432 certified visits from 116,376 users, 57% of which were new visitors.

A subsequent article will explain that I am expanding the website to offer advertising for those offering educational services, and I am now happy to receive enquiries about this service. The first advertiser, the tutoring company Bright Young Things, has seen 156 visitors to its webpage in the first two days it has been up.

The past year…

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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: ........

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Monday, 14 October 2013 22:37

Secondary School Appeal Outcomes for 2012-13

I now have appeal outcomes for nearly every secondary school in Kent that held appeals in the past school year. 

I don't proposed to publish individual outcomes as these can be very misleading and some change dramatically year on year; so are not a good guide to future appeal results. In any case, a successful appeal depends not only on the strength of the parental case, the defence put up by the school against admitting additional children, and the pressure on places,  but also the way the appeal panel operates.  

There is much more information about appeals in the appeal sections of this website (right hand panel) or for some schools in the individual school information section (also via right hand panel). 

The majority of appeals held in Kent are heard by Independent Appeal Panels organised by Kent County Council who provide panels for community, foundation, voluntary aided schools, and academies. However 14 Kent non-selective schools, 15 grammar schools and all Medway secondary schools use appeal panels provided by other organisations or, in a very few cases, organised by themselves.

The following tables show the outcomes of independent appeals for these groups of schools, although there is a wide range of outcomes for individual schools, varying year on year. 

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

Several non-selective schools set up appeals included in the above, but ended up offering places to all appellants, either because the schools expanded numbers or other children offered places dropped out probably after successful grammar school appeals. This movement creates what I call the churning effect as parents trade upwards, which has seen more movement this year than most. These schools included (but don't assume this will also happen for 2014 entry): Brockhill Park; Canterbury High; King Ethelbert; Rainham School for Girls; St Simon Stock; and Westlands and Wrotham. 

At the other end of the scale,........

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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.........

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Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:58

What a media day

Every now and then I have a media storm, but never one like the last two days (a little licence in the title). It began on Wednesday morning when I was invited to comment on Radio Kent about claims by the headteacher of Bromstone Primary School in Thanet that some headteachers were going out of their way to discourage children with a poor reputation and some with Special Education Needs  from applying to their schools. Although I often disagree with him, he is absolutely right in this case. I have talked with parents of children with SEN who have visited schools and been told they can't cope and to go the school up the road "which is good for such children".  A good way of keeping the SEN budget down! At primary level the HT talked of primary schools that identified difficult children through the nursery and set out to put them off. Again, I have come across parents reporting such experiences. Unprofessional schools, but looking out for one's league table  and OFSTED performance, together with a more easily earned reputation for good discipline . Next, ...

Published in Peter's Blog


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

In practice,.......

Published in News Archive
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 18:58

Independent Appeal Panels: KOS Sept 2010

Amongst the less publicised voluntary roles in the county is that of the Independent Appeal panellist. The overwhelming number of appeals are for school admissions with some being for school exclusions. Last year KCC organised 2672 admission appeal hearings for all types of school with one, Wilmington Grammar School for Boys, attracting 100 appeals all heard by the same Panel of three volunteers. Many other admission appeals were heard by Panels organised by individual schools or independent organisations  who specialise in this service.

So who is an appeal panellist?  For admissions, at least one of the three has to have experience in education which can be as a current parent of a child at school, or having knowledge of educational conditions in the area but is often represented by a retired teacher.  Again, at least one is a lay member, without personal experience in the management or provision of  education in a school (although governors are permissible!).  In all cases, panel members must not have a connection with the school in question which might raise doubts about their impartiality.

All panellists must be trained every two years on the regulations and procedures relating to appeals that typically takes a day.  Some training equips panellists to hear appeals for all types of school, other approaches focus on particular types of school, of which there are many in Kent!

I appear before some panels and have reports back on many other hearings. From my experience I consider that the vast majority of panellists are carrying out what can be a very difficult role judging between the needs of the school and those of the child. However, those panellists I talk to generally find this a satisfying role except where they anguish over difficult decisions for, however strong the case, there are occasions when there simply isn’t room for a school to take in another child.

Many parents emerge from an appeal and even if they lose are content that they have had a fair hearing. That is the measure of success for a panellist who has given up his or her time to ensure the system can operate, for without volunteers there would be no appeals. If you are interested in volunteering, I am sure KCC would be very happy to hear from you, telephone 01622 694358.

However to all panellists who may feel your work is not appreciated it is, and thank you on behalf of parents throughout the county.

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