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Displaying items by tag: appeals

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
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 12:30

Primary School Appeals

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Updated December 2020

 Infant Class Legislation means that success rates are very low (see figures below), and as explained in my most recent appeal survey for 2020 Appeal outcomes.  I am afraid I no longer give individual advice.

For all problems, first piece of advice is don't panic. If you are going to appeal it is better to reflect what you are going to write in your appeal statement rather than dash something off in the hope it will be looked at early, or you will get priority in an appeal because you got in first. You won't. If you have been given none of your choices and have been allocated a school that does not make any sense, it may be worthwhile contacting KCC admissions to see if there  is a better alternative that has vacancies. This will not include one of your choices as these will all be full.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • First piece of advice on Primary School appeals 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!). Following several queries on this - the rule is: "Parents should also be informed that there is no statutory time limit for submitting information about their appeal".
  • Appeals for places at primary school are very difficult because of a government ruling that no infant class should have more than 30 pupils. Whilst I no longer prepare appeals one of my clients in the recent past won an appeal for his son to an infant class in a catholic primary school. His twin sister had already been offered a place initially. Another won a place after fraud by another parent was demonstrated. A third won a case after we demonstrated doubt over the distance measurement. Another was taken to the Local Government Ombudsman where we secured a place after demonstrating that the Local Authority had made mistakes in applying the oversubscription criteria. Another won a place after we demonstrated that the Admission Criteria were unfair.
  • Of the  243 appeals for Reception Classes for entry to Kent Primary Schools for September 2020, where Infant Class Legislation Applied,  just one was successful where there were class sizes of 30 children or a multiple of this, 15 or 20 in the Planned Admission Number. Another 11 places were won on appeal out of 18, where the Planned Admission Number is not a multiple of 30, with five out of eight successes into Junior Schools. . Remember, if you wish to appeal, all you need to do initially is to use a form of words similar to "I am appealing for a  place for my child.... in the Reception Class at ..... School. A more detailed letter will follow", and then submit your detailed case later.
  • I am sorry to be so negative, but Infant Class Legislation is very tough. Parents often ask me what the point of an appeal is in such circumstances; quite simply it is your legal right. Sadly, for nearly all of the 457 Kent children who were offered none of their choices in  2020, your only chance is through the waiting list process. Schools should be in a position to advise you of this at the appropriate time; also of the distance from the school to the home of the furthest child accepted the previous year and the distance from the school to your own home, to enable you to understand your chances.
Tagged under
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 00:00

Oversubscription Appeals

Updated December 2020. 

I have written a series of five articles on the developing effects of the coronavirus on school appeals as they emerged, most recently here. At the time of writing, December 2020, the government has left the contingency rules in place for 2021, but there may well be changes. 

You will find data for 2020 Appeals in Kent and Medway here

 Each year I used to receive a number of enquiries about oversubscription appeals following the normal application process for primary and secondary schools (having now retired from offering individual advice).These are where the school (it may be non-selective or grammar) is full. I advised many parents to put in a holding appeal (simply writing "I am appealing for a place for my child (name) at (name) school. A more detailed letter will follow" on the form, which means you do not need to submit full details by deadline day). You can then leave submitting a detailed letter until after the first round of reallocations takes place. 

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. I regret that I have now retired from offering individual advice. 

You will find data on 2020 appeals here. 

To make an appeal for a Kent school you should download an appeal form here if you have not been sent one with the allocation decisions sent to all families of Year Six children on the first weekday after1st March. 

  • The latest Code of Practice for School Appeals, issued by the government, took effect in 2014. Some key issues are set out at Code.
  • If your child is not allocated their first preference school in March, you may be able to secure a place at a school higher in your list through appeal or via the waiting list and you can follow both processes at the same time.
  • The 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!). If yours is one of the few academies that organise early appeals, you can still send in your case when you are notified of the date, without penalty. Appeal dates for each school are published on the school website, theoretically by February 28th (secondary). 
  • Appeals are always possible for both grammar non-selective schools when the number of pupils applying for a school is larger than the approved number of admissions.
  • Kent admission rules allow parents to apply to any school not on their original list after the first Allocation of vacant spaces in April using the In Year Admission process. Use this to the full, as at the least you are placed on a waiting list and then have rights of appeal. Some children who did not originally apply for a school and who now apply after first Allocation will be offered places ahead of others on the waiting list. This appears unfair to some but is following the rules. The situation in Medway is more confused and confusing. 
  • You will be asked to submit a case and appear personally at the Panel hearing, although in 2020, appeals were heard remotely or through a paperwork procedure because of the pandemic.  

Remember that the Appeal Panel will wish to give you a maximum of half an hour at the hearing in a busy day for them. A key task is to make it easy for panellists to absorb your case. So your written submission to the appeal panel should never be more than about a page and a half long. How it is written - typed, pen, bullet points, in full is irrelevant. Focus on the main points and, whilst providing written evidence such as school reports, and headteacher's letter of support (both essential otherwise the Panel will wonder why) there is no need to go into too much detail -leave the panel something to ask questions about.

The rules say that you will need to show that that the admission of one or more additional pupils will not damage the education of those already admitted, or if not that your child has a special case that trumps this. Secondly that your child is one of those who should be included amongst those to be admitted. Do not spend too much, if any, time on the first as panellists will themselves challenge the school over its capacity. If there is a group meeting (see below) then this point will be fully resolved at the meeting and you have no need to address it. 

Instead, focus on why your child should be one of those who should be included amongst those to be admitted. 

You should visit the relevant Individual Schools page for Kent here, and Medway here on this site to see the size of the task, as these pages give data on successful outcomes in previous years. There is no general recipe for success as Panels are given no guidance on what to look for. As a result, different Panels would often come to different conclusions, some favouring the multi-talented pupil, others cases of Special Need, and other difficulties that argue the child needs to be in a particular school. I have talked to panellists who are wary about giving a school too many children who pose problems for them. I have read too many advice pages that come up with a particular recipe for success. Apart from the general points set out below, it does not exist, and each case will be considered on its own merits to fit the panel's sense of what is right for the child and the school. In my extensive experience, this can vary widely across different schools in Kent. All you can do is your best!

Your case should contain the following:

(1) what is it about the school that attracts you, and give a mention to something that caught your child's imagination on your visit. It is important to show you you have visited the school in this way, and not by quoting the prospectus which will not convince an experienced panel.

(2) what is it about your child that s/he needs to be there

(3) relevant special circumstances - the key word is 'relevant'. Flippantly, grandparents and pets have a habit of dying or becoming seriously ill, requiring the child to need security, or many variations on that theme. Members of appeal panels have heard it all before. Relevant also covers Special Needs of different types, but where possible you need to explain why THAT school is necessary or at least the most suitable 

(4) Why the school you have been offered is unsuitable/less suitable for your child. Try not to denigrate the other school - panellists tend not to like this - but focus instead on factors such as transport issues and lack of facilities appropriate for your child.  

It should also be accompanied by a recent school Report and if possible a positive reference from your child's headteacher, although many will rightly find it difficult to make a case for a child and a particular school to fit together, 

If the case is one where another child has been wrongly selected ahead of your own, or that the admission policy has been interpreted wrongly, you have a very strong case for success, and other factors become secondary. 

  •  Some schools are keen to admit additional pupils, and in such cases the appeal is much easier, if you have a reasonable case, or your child appears to ‘fit’ the school ethos. you will find information on this in my Individual School pages for Kent and Medway
  • Each oversubscribed school has its own character and approach to appeals for additional pupils.
  • Grammar school oversubscription appeals can be very complex, as appellants may have children who have passed the eleven plus, others will not have, and the appeal panel has to balance competing claims.
  • Remember, at the end of the day, if the school is genuinely full there may be no way to secure admission.
Group Appeals
Many schools in Kent and Medway operate what a called Group Appeals for many of their Appeal hearings, where schools are oversubscribed.  The Admission Code for School Appeals recommends that where a school is oversubscribed, appeals should be divided into two stages. Where this happens, the first part is called the group stage, where all parents appealing are invited to a meeting at the start of proceedings. At this meeting, all the issues relating to oversubscription are debated between parents and the Admission Authority Presenting Officer in front of the Appeal Panel. However, although parents are invited to put questions and make comments first, the best challenge will often come from the Panel members after this. No matters relating to individuals are considered. The process enables the Appeal Panel to determine before hearing individual appeals how many children, if any, can be admitted before prejudice applies (see the general section on appeals).  The second stage is the individual appeal where each parent puts the case for their individual child. In the second stage, there is no discussion of oversubscription issues. It is at this stage that the  Panel then has to decide which children should be offered places, possibly accepting that for some, there will be prejudice, but their individual circumstances outweigh this. Many parents are inhibited by the Group meeting and find it difficult to put forward their points. Occasionally the meeting rapidly degenerates into an unpleasant verbal battle; at others, very few parents turn up, few views are expressed and the meeting fizzles out (more likely). My advice is to go to the meeting, at the very least you will see the Appeal Panel members in advance. Don't be afraid to speak out if you believe the school is capable of admitting extra children although this can become quite a technical argument and school cases for not admitting additional children can be quite intimidating.  You won't affect your individual chances by making the case that more children, in general, can be admitted. However, where there is no Group Appeal, questioning on prejudice is required to take place in every appeal and can be quite perfunctory and formulaic, so there does need to be a  change of approach.   One of the strongest arguments year on year comes from looking at the numbers in older year groups. If the school can manage these, then why shouldn't it manage the same number again. 
Monday, 04 October 2010 17:34

School Admission Appeals Code

Last Updated August 2015

The School Admission Appeals Code (SAAC) came into operation in 2012 alongside a new  School Admissions Code (SAC). Minor amendments have been made to the latter several times since. These replaced earlier versions and both can be found on the Department for Education website here. The two fundamental changes are firstly that the Codes are now statutory, that is to say they carry the force of law, and secondly, that they are briefer, as government has tried to reduce the bureaucratic expansion of previous versions.

The bodies responsible for school admissions and appeals are called Admission Authorities (AA). The Local Authority (Kent or Medway Council) is the AA for all community or voluntary controlled schools in its area. Academies, Voluntary Aided and Foundation Schools and Free Schools are each the Admission Authority for themselves. 

Where Admission Authorities or Independent Appeal Panels (IAP) contravene the rules of the SAAC, parents have the right to complain. For community, voluntary controlled or voluntary aided schools, the correct path is via the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). For academies, complaints should be made to the Education Funding Agency. You will find further information on complaints by following the links to the two organisations, but essentially they will not recommend (LGO) or offer (EFA) a fresh appeal just because the AA or IAP has failed to follow the rules to the letter, the failure has to give rise to a possible injustice, i.e. a wrong decision by the Appeal Panel. Kent and Medway statistics for the two organisations give a sense of the relative likelihood of success.

The reduction in the appeals framework, has given AA and IAPs more flexibility in operating but in some cases, has introduced ambiguity in the rules. In others, there is no sanction for breaking the rules.

All Appeal Panel Administrators will send out a guidance leaflet in advance of the appeal to explain to parents the process and what to expect. These vary in quality.

You will find the main section of this website on secondary school appeals here; primary schools here

I have selected some key points from the Code below (my notes in italics). The Paragraph numbers refer to the paragraphs in the Code, although I have deleted some points I consider less relevant to parents.

Timetable

2.1 Admission authorities must set a timetable for organising and hearing appeals that:

a) includes a deadline for lodging appeals which allows appellants at least 20 school days from the date of notification that their application was unsuccessful to prepare and lodge their written appeal;

b) ensures that appellants receive at least 10 school days’ notice of their appeal hearing;

c) includes reasonable deadlines for appellants to submit additional evidence, for admission authorities to submit their evidence, and for the clerk to send appeal papers to the panel and parties;

d) ensures that decision letters are sent within five school days of the hearing wherever possible.

2.2 Admission authorities must publish their appeals timetable on their website by 28 February each year.

2.3 Admission authorities must ensure that appeals lodged by the appropriate deadlines are heard within the following timescales:

a) for applications made in the normal admissions round, appeals must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals;

b) for late applications, appeals should be heard within 40 school days from the deadline for lodging appeals where possible, or within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged;

c) for applications to sixth forms:

i) where the offer of a place would have been conditional upon exam results, appeals must be heard within 30 school days of confirmation of those results;

ii) where the offer of a place would not have been conditional upon exam results, appeals must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals;

d) for applications for in-year admissions, appeals must be heard within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged.

2.4 Any appeals submitted after the appropriate deadline must still be heard, in accordance with whatever timescale is set out in the timetable published by the admission authority.

Arrangements

2.5 When a local authority or an admission authority informs a parent of a decision to refuse their child a place at a school for which they have applied, it must include the reason why admission was refused; information about the right to appeal; the deadline for lodging an appeal and the contact details for making an appeal. Parents must be informed that, if they wish to appeal, they have to set out their grounds for appeal in writing. Admission authorities must not limit the grounds on which an appeal can be made.

2.8 Admission authorities must comply with reasonable requests from parents for information which they need to help them prepare their case for appeal.

2.15 Admission authorities must ensure that appeal hearings are held in private, and are conducted in the presence of all panel members and parties. One party must not be left alone with the panel in the absence of the other. (Note: this is too common an example of maladministration, leading to a fresh appeal).

The order of the hearing

2.16 The clerk must notify the parties of the order of the proceedings in advance of the hearing. A suggested order is set out below:

a) case for the admission authority;

b) questioning by appellant(s) and panel;

c) case for the appellant(s);

d) questioning by the admission authority and panel;

e) summing up by the admission authority;

f) summing up by the appellant(s).

From Previous Code: Panel members may ask questions at any time during the hearing to clarify what is being said or if they want to ascertain further information in order to reach a decision. However, they must not attempt to answer questions for the presenting officer or parents.

Multiple Appeals (most cases

2.18 Multiple appeals are when a number of appeals have been received in relation to the same school (this is the norm). Admission authorities must take all reasonable steps to ensure that multiple appeals for a school are heard by one panel with the same members. Where more than one panel has to consider appeals for the same school, each panel must make its own decision independently. A panel hearing multiple appeals must not make decisions on any of those appeals until all the appeals have been heard. (Note: There is still at least one Appeal Panel that substitutes individual panel members for others as the appeals proceed. This is not allowed. Only if two Panels are completely distinct and make their own decisions independently for a multiple appeal can this be allowed; however, in the one case I have been involved it led to decisions which left the school, parents and myself deeply dissatisfied)).

2.19 Multiple appeals may be heard either individually or in groups. Hearing multiple appeals individually means holding a series of consecutive appeal hearings. The panel must ensure that the presenting officer does not produce new evidence in later appeals that was not presented in earlier appeals as this would mean that appellants whose cases were heard earlier in the process would not have the opportunity to consider and respond to the new evidence. If material new evidence comes to light during the questioning of the presenting officer, the clerk must ensure that the panel considers what bearing that evidence may have on all appeals.

2.20 When multiple appeals are grouped (increasingly common for oversubscription situations with both non-selective and grammar schools in Kent, the norm in Medway), the presenting officer’s case is usually heard in the presence of all the appellants at the beginning of the hearing. The appellants’ cases are then heard individually without the presence of other appellants. Where there are a large number of appeals, holding grouped multiple appeals offers efficiencies. (Individual appeals then consider solely the appellants’ personal case and do not hear further evidence about oversubscription issues).

Guiding Principles

2.21 Appeal panels must operate according to the principles of natural justice. Those most directly relevant to appeals are:

a) members of the panel must not have a vested interest in the outcome, or any involvement in an earlier stage, of the proceedings;

b) each side must be given the opportunity to state their case without unreasonable interruption; and

c) written material and evidence must have been seen by all the parties (Too often ignored, producing possible maladministration and injustice. One Foundation that operates grammar school appeals, has regularly provided information to panellists about individual performance not shared with parents. Panel clerks must send the same package of materials to panellists, school Presenting Officer and parents enabling the latter to be sure that their whole case has been submitted. As in 2.15, the Presenting Officer can have no contact with panellists before, during or after the appeal unless parents are also present).

Notification of Decision

2.24 The panel must communicate the decision of each appeal, including the reasons for that decision, in writing to the appellant, the admission authority and the local authority. The clerk or chair must sign the decision letter and send it to the parties as soon as possible after the hearing but not later than five school days, unless there is good reason. In the case of applications outside the normal admissions round, the child must be admitted without unnecessary delay.

2.25 The panel must ensure that the decision is easily comprehensible so that the parties can understand the basis on which the decision was made. The decision letter must contain a summary of relevant factors that were raised by the parties and considered by the panel. It must also give clear reasons for the panel’s decision, including how, and why, any issues of fact or law were decided by the panel during the hearing (Kent County Council is increasingly producing mass produced inadequate decision letters, often not signed by the clerk. This is a matter of serious concern for the LGO, but the EFA tends to regard it as maladministration not indicative of injustice).

Notes and records of proceedings

2.26 The clerk must ensure an accurate record is taken of the points raised at the hearing, including the proceedings, attendance, voting and reasons for decisions.

2.27 Such notes and records will, in most cases, be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998, but admission authorities receiving requests under those Acts for information or data contained in such notes or records should obtain legal advice. (KCC is currently (2013) providing such information to parents on request, but other Panel Administrators will often refuse. It is worth challenging them on the basis of their decision if you are considering a complaint).

Reaching Decisions on Appeals

(Where there is an oversubscription issue – all cases, apart from those grammar schools where there are sufficient vacancies not to be put under pressure of space).

3.5 The panel must uphold the appeal where:

a) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or had not been correctly and impartially applied, and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied (this is most often challenged where parents believe that other children have wrongly been given priority or have gained places by fraud), or

b) it finds that the admission of additional children would not prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources.

If the Panel decides there would be prejudice if additional children are admitted then:

3.8 The panel must balance the prejudice to the school against the appellant’s case for the child to be admitted to the school. It must take into account the appellant’s reasons for expressing a preference for the school, including what that school can offer the child that the allocated or other schools cannot. If the panel considers that the appellant’s case outweighs the prejudice to the school it must uphold the appeal (It is always a delicate balance deciding how much of your appeal should focus on the issue of oversubscription, rather than simply making the case for admission. Some parents simply ignore the first, whilst others go to town over it. I have considerable experience of how different panels react to the two strategies and so can maximise my clients’ chances of success).

Appeals for grammar schools

3.11 Designated grammar schools are permitted to select children for admission on the basis of academic ability and may leave places unfilled if there are insufficient eligible applicants14. Some admission authorities for grammar schools offer places to those who score highest, others set a pass mark and then apply oversubscription criteria to those applicants that reach the required standard.

3.12 (Only relevant for some grammar schools in Medway, none in Kent) Some admission authorities for grammar schools operate a ‘local review’ process to determine whether children who have, for example, failed the entrance test ought to be deemed as being of grammar school standard. The local review process does not replace a parent’s right of appeal against the refusal of a place at a school for which they have applied (KCC does NOT regard Headteacher Assessments as a Local Review, but as part of the assessment process.  As a result, there are no problems in Kent and so Kent parents need not consider this as an issue.  Sadly, misleading advice about the Code is posted on another website and although I have warned the moderators, they ignored my advice. As a direct result, some parents either pulled out of appeals they may have won, or else turned up and continue to turn up to appeals prepared for an issue that did not arise – See the section on Medway Grammar School Review and Appeals)

3.13 An appeal panel may be asked to consider an appeal where the appellant believes that the child did not perform at their best on the day of the entrance test. In such cases:

a) where a local review process has not been applied, the panel must only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied:

i) that there is evidence to demonstrate that the child is of the required academic standards, for example, school reports giving Year 5/Year 6 SAT results or a letter of support from their current or previous school clearly indicating why the child is considered to be of grammar school ability; and

ii) where applicable, that the appellant’s arguments outweigh the admission authority’s case that admission of additional children would cause prejudice.

b) where a local review process has been followed, the panel must only consider whether each child’s review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way and if there is no evidence that this has been done, the panel must follow the process in paragraph 3.13(a) above (This is only relvant in medway, see Medway Review).

3.14 In either case the panel must not devise its own methods to assess suitability for a grammar school place unrelated to the evidence provided for the hearing (the panel is not qualified make it own judgements about academic ability, but must reach decisions on the academic evidence provided. In the same way it is not able to make an assessment of written work submitted, nor interview the child, if present (not recommended) to determine their ability).

3.15 If a panel has to consider an appeal for an in-year applicant where no assessment has taken place, it must follow the process in paragraph 3.13(a) above.

Infant Class size appeals

It is very difficult to win an appeal where infant class sizes are an issue. See here for further details. 

4.4 The panel must consider all the following matters:

a) whether the admission of an additional child/additional children would breach the infant class size limit (30 children wth one class teacher);

b) whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998;

c) whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case(s) in question; and

d) whether the decision to refuse admission was one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

4.6 The panel may only uphold the appeal where:

a) it finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit; or

b) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or

c) it decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

4.8 The panel must dismiss the appeal where:

a) it finds that the admission arrangements did comply with admissions law and were correctly and impartially applied; or

b) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied but that, if they had complied and had been correctly and impartially applied, the child would not have been offered a place;

and it finds that the decision to refuse admission was one which a reasonable admission authority could have made.

Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00

Kent Grammar School Appeals

Last updated December 2020:

 Coronavirus: Please note that this article takes limited note of potential changes to the Appeal Procedure caused by the Coronovirus pandemic, but I have included some additional material here. For information about the changes go to School Appeals and Coronavirus: Part 5, which explores the alternative ways of managing appeals. 

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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 2020 Appeals in Kent and Medway for 2020 entry hereand 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 have 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 2021 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 organised 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 108 of 2021 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), and an alterntive letter from the class teacher carries much less weight and may carry a negative message about the head's view. 
  • 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. 

2021 Update: It has been suggested that for 2021 grammar school appeals, given that children have missed much of the past year's schooling any of the following that you can obtain may be helpful: Key Stage One Outcomes, especially where they are at Level 3; End of Year Teacher Assessments and school Reports from Year Four; Any school assessments for Year 5 and/or 6, from CATs, PIRA, PUMA, GAPS, PISA , some of the tests that school use in normal times; predicted KS2 outcomes; and details of the Amount of education with dates missed since March 2020; End of Year Five Reports. It may be of course that unfortunately many of these have not been carried out or produced. 

  •  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.

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) 

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 posted by families living outside the county, often very different from those in the rest of the county. 

Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00

Secondary School Appeals

Last updated: December 2020. You will find the latest page on the effects on school appeals of the Coronavirus here.

You will find further information, comment and advice in the page relating to specific types of appeal: Kent grammar schools; Medway grammar school review and appeal; oversubscription appeals; and primary school appeals. A look at key points of the School Admissions Appeals Code also contains further advice and information.  

You will find data for 2020 Appeals in Kent and Medway entry here and more information about individual Kent schools here

I am afraid I have completely retired from offering individual appeals advice. 

All school appeals are required to follow the mandatory School Admissions Appeals Code.

Parents have the right to appeal against any decision not to offer a school place, and that decision must be in writing and contain information on how to appeal.  Whilst there is no time limit on when an appeal can be lodged,  it is normally best to meet the official closing dates, otherwise parents may find the schools their appeal is heard late and the school has filled at the time of the main appeals.

I regularly receive a number of enquiries about oversubscription appeals at the beginning of March when decisions arrive. These arise where the school (it may be non-selective or grammar) is full after the main allocation of places. 

In all cases, it is important that you notify the Admission Authority (which is the Local Authority in the case of Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools, otherwise it is the school or academy) that you are appealing, so that you are in the lists before the closing date for appeals. I advise many parents to put in a holding appeal (simply writing "I am appealing for a place for my child (name) at (name) school. A more detailed letter will follow" on the form you are sent with your decision letter, which means you do not need to submit full details by deadline day). You can then leave submitting a detailed letter until you have a clearer picture of the situation and you can also find out by how much you missed out on a place (for example distance) from the school. 

For non-selective schools, or oversubscribed grammar schools where your child passed the Kent or Medway Test, you should also apply to go on the waiting list. Arrangements for both processes are sent with your allocation letter on National Allocation Day.

In any case, DO NOT PANIC. Do not send off something immediately. It may damage your case when the appeal is finally heard and, however angry you are with the allocation, you won't gain any advantage or have your case heard early.  It is best to wait until you are ready with all your supporting evidence and then send it in together. It is good practice to get all material there at least ten days before the appeals start for your school, to ensure that papers can be distributed to the panellists. Few appeals are heard before May but Admission Authorities must publish their appeal timetable on their website. No Appeal Panel will discriminate against you if you deliver supplementary material after the official closing date for appeals, although administrators often find it convenient and may hassle you. If you don’t register your appeal until after this date you may find your appeal is heard after the main batch, when it may be more difficult to win an appeal if there is no room.

This right includes appeals against a decision not to be offered a place at sixth form, although the student themselves can also appeal in such cases.

In Kent and Medway, appeals are heard before an Independent Appeal Panel comprising three panellists (except at Simon Langton Boys Grammar that normally uses five panellists). These are independent of the school and the Local Authority, but are appointed by the Admission Authority. All panellists are required to have been trained. An Appeal Panel has to have at least one Advisory Member and one Lay Member. An Advisory Member has experience in education, or is acquainted with educational conditions in the area, or is the parent of a registered child at a school. A Lay Member does not have personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school, but may be a school governor or have other voluntary experience. As you can see, appeal panellists do not initially have to have great knowledge of the education system, but soon acquire expertise in the role and in the different situations they may be faced with. All are volunteers and in my experience the great majority carry out an effective job. 

Chances of success at appeal vary widely; last year the number of successful appeals at individual Kent grammar schools varied from 0 to 75, and for non selective schools from 0 to 51. You will find some more detail about appeal outcomes for 2019 here.  These figures confirm that whilst Panels are trained to follow the mandatory Code of Practice, they may adapt their decision to local circumstances, such as the pressure on places. 

For non selective and primary schools, appeals are against a decision not to admit the child because the school is full. 

For grammar schools, there are three types of appeal:
1) Against a decision that the child has been found non selective, although there are still places in the school;
2) Against a decision that the child has been found non-selective and the school is full;
3) Against a decision that the child has been found selective but the school is full. 

Appeal Panels can be organised in a variety of ways. All community  and voluntary controlled schools in Kent and Medway will use Panels selected and trained by the Local Authority, but independent of the Education Department. The LA also provides clerks to administer the process and will manage all paperwork. 

Academies, Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools in Kent may also use the services of Local Authority Panels, but those in Kent or Medway have three alternative choices:

  1. There are several Independent Appeal Panel Administrators operating in the area who offer services to a number of schools. These will recruit their own appeal Panel members and provide Independent Clerks. 
  2. A few schools use their own independent clerk to organise appeals and may recruit their own Independent panellists.
  3. There are now a couple of organisations offering to run appeals for schools, in one case even offering to provide the school representative at the appeal! Statistics for these panels suggest a much lower rate of success. 


In my experience, Appeal Panels are less independent than say ten years ago, as many schools recognise they are paying for the service, with some quite prepared to change provider if outcomes don't reflect school wishes in general terms. 

Each Panel administrator should provide comprehensive documentation in advance setting out the appeal process, so that parents know what procedure is to be followed.

An increasing number of schools that are oversubscribed in both Kent and Medway operate a group appeal. At a group appeal, all appealing parents are invited to hear the Admission Authority case for not admitting additional pupils in the presence of the Independent Appeal Panel, and to ask questions. The Appeal Panel can then make a decision on how many additional children should be admitted (if any), so that individual appeals can focus on the parental case, without the issues of fullness being considered further at every appeal. No individual case or circumstances are considered at the group stage. 

I believe this is an effective way of managing oversubscription appeals, but can produce fireworks or a difficult meeting that requires good chairmanship. Where a group appeal is not used, each individual hearing considers evidence on both the fullness of the school and the case for the individual child.

Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00

Review and Appeal for Medway Grammar Schools

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Last Revised December 2020: You will find the most recent page on the possible effects on school appeals of the Coronavirus here.

Review

You will find data for 2020 Appeals in Kent and Medway entryhere and more information including oversubscription and appeal statistics for individual Medway schools here. There is more general advice on grammar school appeals at the Kent Grammar School Appeal page

If your child is unsuccessful in the Medway tests you are entitled to apply for a Review of the decision, designed to select another 2% of children. However, for 2021 admission it once again was well below this level for Medway children, at 0.34% (84 out of 62 boys and 4 out of 71 girls successful) underlining both the failure of the process and the bias towards girls (detailed data here).  For 2020 it was 0.43%, 4 out of 69 boys and 11 out of 78 girls successful). For 2019 admission it had reached another new low at 0.12% of the cohort (2 out of 78 Medway boys who went to Review and 2 out of 81 girls, no private school or out of Medway children out of 26), details here. For 2018 entry, this process identified just a further 12 successful Medway children (only 0.37%) out of a total of 161 applicants for Review, and for 2017 it was 24 out of 148.  

Interpretation of current legislation is in a mess, and if you apply for a Review and are unsuccessful, the rules say you can only have your case considered (even though you have a right to be heard!) by an Independent Appeal Panel if you can show the Review process was not fair, objective or consistent. You will find the legal background at Code of Practice for School Appeals, paras 3.12 and 3.13. I do not know how parents can weigh up which option to choose on this reading!  However, I attempt to summarise the situation below that may be helpful.

The Review procedure for 2021 entry was as follows. Review Panels, each comprising two teachers from different schools, looked at three pieces of work from each of English, mathematics and science submitted by the primary schools (usually but not always within books), together with standardised test results (including Key Stage 1) taken in the schools and a grammar/non selective recommendation from the primary school (there is no indication on the Panel decision sheet of how this information was used). The Panel were not given any other information although parents are asked to complete a form (which panellists were instructed to ignore) giving their reasons for asking for a Review.  Each Panel then made a decision based on the work of the children they were reviewing meeting remotely because of conronavirus and the total of successful reviews for Medway state school children turned out to be 0.34 % well below the planned 2% which has not been reached for many years. There were around five successes (small numbers) for Medway private schools, Kent children or other out of Medway school children.

The problems are compounded by the Review application Form R1 that invites parents to give their reasons for requesting a Review. It is also made clear that  parents should not send in information or documentation additional to their written statement (this cuts out medical evidence or other special reasons for underperformance, including prolonged absence from school which would have an effect on quality of work submitted).  However, the form also states that decisions will be based on the evidence supplied by the school, implying (confirming) that these parental reasons will be ignored. Further the primary school headteacher is forbidden to write letters of support or to provide information, other than KS1 results, Year 5  levels and a high/grammar recommendation. In 2008, following a complaint by me, the ombudsman criticised this process as the combination of the two procedures denies parents any opportunity to put forward their case, which flies in the face of natural justice. However, in a 2010 complaint the Ombudsman found this contradiction was reasonable!

I have received many enquiries on the value of the words on the R1 Review Request form. All I can get from Medway Council is that:

Those carrying out the Review process should see the parental statement (and no more), just to place the academic evidence in context. The review panel will (then) make their decision based on a consideration of the academic evidence provided by the school. 

 This moves us no further forward as if parents have reasons for underperformance, no Review Panel should/could accept these without evidence that would be supplied by additional materials. In any case, the Panel decision is based (solely?) on academic evidence supplied by the school. I am very disappointed that Medway Council is unable to give proper guidance to parents on the value of their statement on Form R1, preferring to leave them in confusion. My own view is that although Panels are not be able to take the statements into consideration, parents should put reasons for underperformance down as it is often relevant for appeals (see below). Do not mention specific schools. 

 Consideration of the Review Process at Appeal

 In all cases, if the child has been unsuccessful at Review, the school presents the Review results sheet (R2B) to the Independent Appeal Panel. It also provides the R1 Form, when an unhelpful comment by parents, written in good faith, can damage your appeal case. There is also an R2(A) which is presented, containing the information (above) submitted by the headteacher.

 At an Appeal, parents have the right to present whatever additional information they wish, to try and persuade the Panel that their child is of a grammar school standard. This is likely to include reasons why the child underperformed and alternative evidence of his or her grammar school ability. However, the statutory Code of Practice states that where a Review has taken place, the only grounds for appeal are that the Review was not fair, objective or consistent. In other words, according to the rules, panels cannot consider alternative evidence that the child is of a grammar school standard, or that there were reasons for underperformance on the day, unless they are satisfied that the Review process was unfair (but see below) 

 The real problem about Review often comes at appeal, as Appeal Panels for the different schools adopt different interpretations of the Code, sometimes adopting different views in different years.

 At Holcombe, the whole 2018 process was a shambles as explained first here, and finally here. There was just one success in 2019 and again in 2020.  

Historically, clients of mine  persuaded the Panels at Sir Joseph Williamson's over the years that the Medway Reviews were unfair – I believe my arguments had been decisive in some years, and so parents did have their academic cases considered. However, in 2018 no appeals for boys were upheld for boys who had not been found successful in Test or Review, and in 2019 just three, so I suspect it was unlikely that any of those going to Review saw appeals upheld. In 2020 there were none. Details here

The number of children, initially non selective, who were offered places at Rochester Grammar or Rainham Mark is negligible (for 2018, 2019 and 2020 entry it was none), the fairness of the Review process providing an initial filter.

Panels at Fort Pitt for 2016 to 2020 entry the school was heavily over subscribed so it was no surprise it was considered fair.

The Chatham Grammar (School for Girls) Admission Panel has not historically taken any notice of the Review outcome, including up to 2020. I see no reason why they would change. 

Summary of Issues and Strategies for Review Process

  • If you go for Review and are unsuccessful, an assessment of your child’s work is sent to the appeal panel. I believe that because markers want to create clear water between those who are found selective and those who are not, Review reports are often unduly harsh and have a negative effect on Panels.
  • The Admissions brochure, like the parental advice, is ambiguous on the issue of whether parental reasons are taken into account, in spite of being criticised by the Ombudsman who considers parents should have the right to have their reasons presented to the Review Panel Review. The reality is, they are not, but can surface at appeal and count against you. 
  • The above analysis by school suggests you should go for Review if you are considering a place at Chatham Girls. For the other five schools chances of a successful appeal if your child is initially unsuccessful are usually slim (practically nil), as shown with the 2020 data here, and so I am unable to advise you which decision to take. For Holcombe, I have no idea what is to come. 
  • If you go for Review and are unsuccessful, an assessment of your child’s work is sent to the appeal panel. I believe that because markers want to create clear water between those who are found selective and those who are not, Review reports are often unduly harsh and have a negative effect on Panels.
  •  I believe that the process is inherently flawed and should be able to be successfully challenged - but it is increasingly difficult! The reality is that if an Appeal Panel is determined to find the process fair, it is very difficult to budge it.  
 

Warning on Medway School Admissions

Schools are not allowed to know the position you have placed them on the Application Form when drawing up rankings of children to determine who is awarded a place. However, for 2014 entry the whole application form,including reasons for applying for a school was sent to Admission Authorities to be provided as evidence for appeal panels when considering appeals. This practice has continued for 2015 admission and subsequently, although I regard it as a seriously retrograde step placing parents in an invidious position regarding their choice of schools. It is certainly wrong according to the spirit, if not the letter, of the mandatory School Admissions Code,that does not allow schools to know in which order the parents have placed them on the form for admission purposes.  However, I am told it is legal and other Authorities (not Kent) also use it when parents appeal for a school place in March, It is possible that some schools which are their own admission authorities (including academies) may choose not to present the information to Independent Appeal Panels, but for 2016 appeals nearly all did. If you are likely to have to appeal, you therefore now have to consider order of preference on the Common Application Form much  more carefully than in previous years, as the school and appeal panel will now see all your preferences and be entitled to ask the reason for them.

Further, there is a section for you to provide the reason for applying to each school separately on the Form.  This used to be confidential to the school applied for and continues to be so, unless you appeal, when as it is on the common application form it is shared with all schools you are appealing to. Obviously if you put down strong reasons for applying to one school it may reflect badly on you if appealing for another! My advice is therefore clear. Do not put any entry in this section, unless you are applying on health grounds (or similar) on which you consider your child needs to attend a particular school, in which case you would also need to provide strong medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Otherwise, reasons are completely ignored for allocating places in the admission procedure as they do not form part of the criteria or rules by which places are allocated.

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