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Monday, 08 October 2018 20:09

Medway Test 2018: Initial Information

You will find the parallel article for the Kent test here

You will find a full analysis of Medway Test and Review outcomes here

The pass mark for the Medway Test for 2019 admission is an aggregate score of 492. This is calculated by adding together the score on the Verbal Reasoning Test together with twice the score on each of the mathematics and extended writing tests.

Although this is the lowest figure for some years it is no indication of the difficulty of the test. It is simply related to the proportion of the Year Group which sat the Test. The higher the proportion the lower the pass mark, as a result of what is called Local Standardisation, as explained here. You will find another information article on Review and Appeal here. Data for individual Medway schools including oversubscription levels and appeal outcomes here.

Whilst just 17 more Medway pupils passed the test than in 2017, a total of 773 children, the big news is that the number of out of county children passing the Medway Test has leapt by nearly 50% to 914, which will have considerable consequences for pressure on places. Councillor Andrew Mackness, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: 'Well done to everyone who sat the Medway Test. It is pleasing to see that more children than ever took the Medway Test highlighting the popularity of our excellent grammar schools'.   Presumably he is not aware of the consequences, as explored below. 

You will find the answer to most questions about whether to apply for a Review in the article on Review and Appeal.....

I have retired from my appeals advisory service, but offer a Telephone Advisory Service offering advice on Review, Admissions and Appeals as explained here. As in previous years, I will also publish articles on Medway Test results and Review in more detail as I receive them. You will find fuller articles on 2017 Test results here, and Review here.

Medway Test Outcomes 2018
  Medway  OOA Medway OOA
in Cohort
3361   3281  
Taking Test
1873 1392 1785 918
Passing Test 773 914 756 626
% Pass Rate 23.0%   23.0%  

Note: OOA stands for Out of Area, i.e. living outside Medway

You will find the source of much of this data here

Revisiting Test Papers
You cannot appeal against a Medway Test result, you can only appeal against the decision not to offer your child a place at a grammar school you have put on your application form for secondary schools. Medway Council states: 'We will not provide the original or a copy of your child's test paper(s) and there is no option for you to view test papers. Examination scripts are exempt from section 7 (right of access to personal data) as stated in Schedule 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998'.

Out of Area Applicants: It is difficult to be precise about the consequences of the massive increase in Out of Medway children passing the Medway Test, although last year's problems will give an indication. We don't yet know the gender breakdown, but the table below shows the 2018 allocation breakdown by school.  

Medway Grammar Allocations
March 2018
Medway OOA
Chatham Girls 142 82 56 26
Fort Pitt 120 120 118 2
Holcombe 120 148 97 51
Rainham Mark 205  235 229 6
Rochester 175 205 124 81
Sir Joseph
180 203 184 19

Note: PAN stands for Planned Intake Number. Most grammar schools increased their PAN to respond to high demand. Details here

One of the consequences of pressure on places is that appeals from children initially found non-selective are more difficult to win. You will find some details in the Individual Schools section. 

Around half of the OOAs are from Kent children in most cases. In previous years, a large number of London children apply late for some Medway grammars having failed to gain places at closer schools in Dartford and Gravesend, or else sit the Medway Test late for the same reasons, then apply. 

Chatham Grammar Girls: In most years the only undersubscribed Medway Grammar. However, for 2017 entry, 143 places were offered with 36 OOAs. It looks as if numbers will be up again for 2019.

 Fort Pitt: Heavily oversubscribed with strong priority for local children. 

Holcombe Grammar School: I have no idea what will happen with admissions and appeals at Holcombe following the chaotic decision making by the school  for 2018 admissions, as the school made up policy on the hoof. You will find a number of relevant articles by putting the word 'Holcombe' in my website search engine. Historically took boys from across Medway a large number getting in on appeal. If 2018 admissions repeats, I am afraid it could be very difficult for appeal boys to secure a place anywhere, unless they have a strong case for the Math. 

Rainham Mark: Changed last year to give main priority for local children. Some OOA will have gained places through the sibling rule. This figure will continue to fall. 

The Rochester Grammar School: Most places awarded for high scorers irrespective of residence. With the inevitable increased pressure on places from OOA girls the cut off score is likely to rise from last year's 25 points above the pass mark, so higher than 517. 

Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School: Heavily oversubscribed but giving priority to boys living geographically nearer. So all OOA boys come from Kent, close to the West and South of Medway. 

Medway Council View
'It is pleasing to see that more children than ever took the Medway Test highlighting the popularity of our excellent grammar schools'.  The reality is that families from London Boroughs stretching through to Greenwich (7 girls to Chatham Grammar, 17 to Rochester Grammar; 10 boys to Holcombe) are mainly looking for places in Dartford grammar schools. If not successful, they will look for places in Gravesend grammar schools. If unsuccessful, they will look at Medway schools, a few also looking to Sittingbourne! Especially at Rochester Grammar this makes it harder to secure places for Medway families at their preferred grammar school.  I can't see how the increase is due to specific popularity of Medway grammar schools! 

Schools Adjudicator:  I have secured decisions following complaints to the Schools Adjudicator who ruled that proposed changes to the Admission Rules for the following schools were unfair, primarily to local children: Brompton Academy (withdrew proposals before Adjudicator ruled); Fort Pitt Grammar; Holcombe Grammar; Rochester Grammar. Sir Joseph Williamson's withdrew their proposals before they went to the Adjudicator. You will find details of the decisions here

A posting from the Medway 11 plus Forum, without comment: 'All, Congrats to your kids and to all parents !My daughter passed with a score of 659, it is a great news, but we leave in Greenwich. Do you think this mark would be enough to be accepted in Rochester grammar ? We know they changed their criteria this year (feeder school first) we are a little confused. Any other Medway grammar accepting students based on score only ? Thank you all for your precious help best for you all.



Last modified on Wednesday, 09 October 2019 12:34


  • Comment Link Tuesday, 09 October 2018 20:29 posted by Jennie S

    As always, a great and comprehensive analysis Peter. Will be of great help to other Medway families as well as myself. We were looking at Holcombe as it seems the only choice for boys in Chatham, but have just missed out on scores. You don't seem very optimistic about appeals and Review seems highly risky. Any advice? PETER: I would love to be able to assist, but I have no faith in Holcombe or confidence in my ability to predict or advise in this case. Sorry.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 09 October 2018 12:50 posted by Debbie

    What surprises me is the glee with which Medway council announced on their facebook page "This year’s Medway Test has seen more children than ever assessed as eligible for a grammar school place – more than 1,600" yet on their news page they say that only 773 of these are Medway children (in keeping with the 23% of the cohort). I assume that there is no cut off score for out of area applicants.
    Why are they so happy that 914 - a substantial increase - of the assessed places are from OOA? Surely this puts yet more pressure on places and can deny local children the chance for a grammar school? That is not something to boast about. PETER: Thank you Debbie for letting me know these details. I have now incorporated them.

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