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Thursday, 01 March 2018 12:03

Kent Secondary School Allocations for September 2018: Initial Information and Advice

You will find a parallel Medway article here. Detailed information for Kent grammar schools here. Kent Non-selective schools to follow shortly. 

Several updates below, including grammar issues for boys in Longfield, Hartley, NAG, etc. Also look at my response to comment, below. Grammar places for boys in Whitstable, Herne Bay also looking an issue. 

Kent secondary school allocations have been sent out today for those registered to receive by email and should arrive tomorrow by post for all (weather permitting).

17,442 Kent children applied for places in schools, 745 more than in 2017, with 79.6% of them being offered their first choice. This is the lowest percentage for at least five years, but just 0.8% down on last year. 765 children been given none of their four choices, at 4.4% of the total, again the highest proportion for at least five years, and well up on last year’s 633. I know that a number of additional school places have been created at pinch points across the county, notably Tunbridge Wells, but I am already hearing of some very difficult situations for some of the children with no school of their choice.

In spite of another large increase in out of county applications to Kent schools, up 545 to 3,289, just 818 were offered places, only eight more than in 2017. This will have been partially balanced by around 500 going to schools outside Kent.

You will find more information, including a look at some of the pressure points, together with the tables of outcomes below. You will also find required scores for super-selective schools as these are confirmed (all information welcomed), and initial advice at the foot of the article on what to do if you have not been offered the school of your choice. This begins as always with my Corporal Jones mantra, do NOTHING in panic! You may regret it. There is no quick fix. 

There is also a link to the limited advice service I now offer. 

You will find the KCC Press Release here if interested. 

I will update this article as I receive further information. As always, when I get a school by school breakdown, I shall publish a fuller analysis later this month, the 2017 articles for Kent grammars being here, non-selectives here, for Medway grammars here, and Medway non-selectives here. You will find these give considerable guidance on what to expect this time round.

 Kent Secondary School Allocations: March 2018
Kent pupils 2018 2017 2016 2015
No. of
No. of
No. of
No. of
Offered a first preference 13,891 79.6% 13,418 80.4% 13,159 81.4% 12,796  80.5%
Offered a second preference 1,937 11.1% 1,861 11.1% 1,840 11.4%  1,612  10.1%
Offered a third preference 641 3.7% 593 3.6% 549 3.4%  611  3.8%
Offered a fourth preference 208 1.2% 194 1.2% 196 1.2% 234  1.5%
Allocated by Local Authority 765 4.4% 633 3.8% 428 2.7%  641  4.0%
Total number of Kent pupils offered 17,442 16,697   16,172    15,894  

 Out of County Applicants
The previously inexorable rise in out of county children being offered places in Kent schools appears to have tailed off at 818, just  8 more than for 017 entry, but it needs to be borne in mind both that a considerable number of the 449 London children who were offered Kent places last year will have eventually settled for places nearer home, and also that 500 Kent children were offered places going the other way out, of county. The headlines inevitably focus on pressure on grammar schools, last year 454 ooc children being offered grammar school places, just over half the total but, for example, exactly 100 of the 116 Medway children taking up places in Kent schools went to non-selective schools. 
Out of County Applicants to Kent Secondary Schools 2018
Year 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Out of county applicants 3,289 2,744 2,624 2,299 1,991
Offers to out of county pupils
at Kent schools
818 810 803 757 602

A look at some individual Districts

Most to follow shortly. My apologies, but other matters have had to take priority.  

Tunbridge Wells
I wrote another article recently, describing the coming and actual crisis in Tunbridge Wells places, with additional temporary places as below to try and meet it.
Temporary Places 2018
Bennett Memorial 60
St Gregory's Catholic 60
TW Grammar for Boys 60
Skinners 10

A number of local children have been allocated High Weald Academy, in Cranbrook an hour and a half by bus away. Whilst I think this is unacceptable, I don't see an obvious alternative, unless Skinners Kent Academy can be persuaded to admit an additional class. 

North West Kent
There is intense pressure on boys' grammar school places in Dartford and Gravesend, even though Gravesend Grammar has increased its intake back to 174 (it initially dropped to 150 for 2018). Dartford Grammar has increased pressure on its 90 places held for local children, seeing the cut off score rising from last year's 340. Increased pressure on Wilmington Grammar has seen its local catchment area shrink further. This, and a sharp increase in the number of Gravesham boys passing the Kent Test means that it still can't  offer places to all boys in the associated villages such as Hartley in spite of the increase in numbers. It is clear that a number of local boys have no grammar school at present, with many being offered the unpopular (and to many unacceptable) Ebbsfleet Academy.
Anxiety from many families, not offered a place at one of the four most popular Maidstone non-selective schools, who had 349 first choices turned away last year between them. The better news is that the four grammar schools traditionally offer a lot of place son appeal, freeing up many of these. However, I am afraid appeal chances don't look great either, with 19 out of 111 upheld in 2017.

Round up of Super-Selective Scores

Skinners: Some boys on 363 have been offered places (down from 371 in 2017). Judd: 364 Inner (same as 2017), Outer 395 (400). As noted in a previous article, Judd has expanded its intake to 180 to try and ease the pressure. Tonbridge Grammar School: Inners 369: Governors Places 394 (395 in 2017). Dartford Grammar, 358 for Inners (but not all), 384 (387) outers. Cranbrook 330 for 11 plus cohort (346), as intake doubles from 30 to 60. TWGGS Governors Places 359. In Medway, Rochester Grammar is now the  only super-selective school, with Rainham Mark Grammar switching to give priority to local children. Cut off score in the Medway Test is 520, down by 26 marks on 2017, but with the Medway Test pass mark down by 24 marks, it will be very similar level of difficulty.

Others to follow shortly, weather permitting as most schools are currently closed (3/3)

"We got an offer from Skinners but we live close to London Bridge. There's an open afternoon tomorrow which I'm going to take my son to as he and I have only seen the outside" (Another Kent boy lost out!)


What can you do if you don't have a school of your choice?

As noted above, don't panic. 

So what next? If you are not awarded the school of your choice, then certainly go on the waiting list for every school you have applied for and still wish to consider. You have the right to appeal to any and every school for which you have been turned down. My article on 2017 appeals should be taken as guidance only, a classic example of the warning of taking data too much to heart being the Harvery Grammar in Folkestone, where, after a 12% success rate in 2016, the school decided it could run an additional form for one year only in 2017, and the success rates soared to 89%, as they sought to admit more children. I don't expect this again.  You will also find plenty of free advice in the appeals sections of this website at: Kent Grammar AppealsMedway Grammar Appeals; and Oversubscription Appeals. There is also copious grammar school appeal advice on the 11 plus Exams website, although it is not necessarily Kent specific and in any case often written for out of county candidates who have different expectations and perceptions, so be careful. 

Obviously, you should talk to your primary school who should be able to offer advice and, if you are not sure of the school to which you have been allocated, ask for another visit, which is likely to be as an individual rather than with the crowd who were there on Open Day. 

 You also have the option of making a late application for a fresh school, called an In Year Application from 16th March in Kent, or go on any school’s waiting list after 25th April. Details here (page 18). You can apply for as many schools as you wish through this process.  Every year we see a considerable ‘churning’ effect as children take up places off the waiting lists, as children win appeals at higher preferences, and some unhappy families remove themselves from the state system, so don't lose hope!

Medway is far more convoluted and parents and I often find it difficult to pin down a shifting procedure especially with late grammar school applications, the Admission Booklet being of limited assistance. The phrase ‘at the discretion of the Student Services Management Team’ is used too often in discussion.  

I regret I have retired from my Personal Appeals Service, being the only Kent and Medway appeals specialist I am afraid. I still offer a Telephone Advisory Service which provides an initial hard-nosed information and advisory assessment. 


Last modified on Friday, 01 March 2019 06:07


  • Comment Link Wednesday, 25 April 2018 17:52 posted by Emma

    Any idea how secondary school 2nd round offers are sent out? (Post? Email?) This is in Tonbridge KCC. PETER: No, sorry

  • Comment Link Monday, 02 April 2018 23:38 posted by Sarah

    Do you have ideas about the cut- off for Dartford Girls this year? PETER: No, sorry I usually rely on comments that come into me direct from families or official websites, and don't go chasing myself. Can I suggest you contact the school direct and I would love to know the answer, the only one I haven't picked up this year. Number of first preferences rejected is down this year, so I presume it will be lower than 2017 and so fewer unexpected problems.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 11 March 2018 14:52 posted by RS

    Dear Peter,

    When did in 2017 the in area scores go down to 340 for Dartford Grammar Boys? This seems like a big drop from initial cut off of 352.
    Thanks. PETER: No idea. It doesn't affect decisions and is no predictor for the future so I don't waste time on it. Wait and see

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 07 March 2018 11:29 posted by Simon

    Peter, thanks very much for the information on your site. My son's been offered Borden, despite it not being one of his preferences, and we've found out from KCC that Barton Court, his 1st choice, the last offer on distance was 6.286m. This is heartbreaking for my son as we're 6.310m close! KCC also told us that last year's last offer on distance was 9.1m away. We're putting him on the waiting list but do you happen to know if that figure of 9.1m is based after the first round of 1st preferences or is that based on a final offer after the waiting list/appeals process please? I'm obviously hoping the, PETER: Probably on allocation in March, as school takes responsibility afterwards. That is a sharp fall in distance.

  • Comment Link Monday, 05 March 2018 15:55 posted by BH

    Hi Peter. Cranbrook School cut off for 2018 entry is confirmed at 330. Are you surprised by that low score, just 10 points over a pass? It's a big drop from last year, which was only 346, but I believe that the intake will be 60 this year in comparison to 30 for 2017. Also, any views on why Skinners' score has fallen from 371 to 363 this year? Many thanks, great website : PETER: Can't pretend I had a view before. However, Cranbrook remains a small town with a rural hinterland, and some families will still want their children to remain at the local private schools until the age of 13. The fall off is therefore wholly reflective of the doubling of the intake. Skinners: recruits across a massive area, so there will inevitably be variations - between 359 and 371 since new Kent Test introduced in 2014. Some very silly comments about artificial fall in GCSE last summer, possible decline in ooc applications with future Kent priority, (Hurrah!), perhaps because Harry and Meghan are getting married.

  • Comment Link Monday, 05 March 2018 15:24 posted by Jayne

    Hi Peter,
    I was wondering if you happen to know the if there are still places at Oakwood Park Grammar School, in Maidstone?
    Will boys who have missed out on places in Gravesend who live in the parishes south of Hartley be able to apply here or is it too late to be considered?
    Many thanks PETER: There will still be room at Oakwood Park if you want to make a late entry, via In Year Admissions - see information article to the right of this.

  • Comment Link Monday, 05 March 2018 12:56 posted by JL

    Thanks for the fantastic site and information gather. Any news on SLGGS? My daughter didn't pass Kent Test but had aggregate of 331.... were hoping to appeal but the situation at BC is looking like pupils who did pass didn't get Grammar school places....PETER: I am aware that BC is oversubscribed; going on previous previous years' outcomes you will find on this website. there will be plenty of places at SLGSG and a high rate of success at appeal.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 03 March 2018 21:41 posted by Louise

    Peter we live in Hartley and my son didn't get into Wilmington, Dartford or Gravesend . After all the hard work over the years the whole thing seems pointless. My son would thrive on a grammar school education. It just seems so unfair.
    Do we automatically get put onto the waiting lists? As well as we will be appealing. PETER: I have received more enquiries on this than anywhere else. I honestly can't see much if any flexibility at Dartford or Wilmington, so focus is on Gravesend. Wilmington has seen its catchment shrink exacerbating the problems caused by DGS criteria. GGS has expanded back to 174 this year, but there has been a large increase in boys passing the Kent Test, and the cut off in the 'priority villages' comes somewhere in Longfield. I am sure GGS will take some of these 'local' boys but the question is, how many can they accommodate? In answer to your question. Yes go for both waiting list and appeal.

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 March 2018 13:31 posted by maame

    hi Peter.

    please do you know cut off point for judd school and Tunbridge wells boys grammar. has anyone got into skinners with 361 score: PETER: Judd, TGS and Rochester GS are now in the article

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 March 2018 11:50 posted by Claire

    Hi Peter, Any ideas of IC and OCC cut off scores for Dartford boys? No more than indicated by reports of hits and misses. School closures are playing havoc with information I am afraid. Will put up best guesses from Forum information, but am currently overwhelmed with enquiries.

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 March 2018 11:11 posted by Debbie

    Peter will there be any info on Medway school stats please and if so do you know when? Thanks PETER: I have now received it and will post this afternoon. But it is very thin!

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 March 2018 09:42 posted by Olu

    The lowest I now know of is a girl with 538 who has been offered RGS. This is lower than last year's 546.Olu

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 March 2018 08:25 posted by S.

    Good morning,
    Thank you for being so quick of the mark, Peter.
    This comment is to other parents, really, if that's all right, but I wondered what the wider situation is in Whitstable and HB this year. My son scored 346 and has been offered our fourth choice, HBH, and I now feel that putting him through the test was fairly pointless and unkind because it's exactly the same result as he'd have got if he hadn't taken it.
    We applied to SLBS and BC in Canterbury, as well as Archbishops as he has a brother there, but were offered none of them.
    Is anyone else in this boat? PETER: There will be, as this is the main black spot, joined this year by some villages south of Gravesend and Dartford. See my blog on the suggested Coastal Annexe of Barton Court

  • Comment Link Thursday, 01 March 2018 18:57 posted by Steve

    Peter, will you be posting the cut off score for Rochester Grammar School for Girls? PETER: As soon as I have it. Today has been very difficult for me and I am just catching up.

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