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Wednesday, 17 October 2018 17:19

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes: 2018

Note: The 11 plus exams forum has removed any indirect mention of this article or website, presumably as it wishes to deny its followers the information. 

This article looks at Year Seven and primary school admission appeals in Kent and Medway, conducted by Kent County Council, Medway Council and a number of private providers. Apart from a sharp fall in successful Kent grammar school appeals to 30% from 38%, other outcomes in Kent and Medway are very similar to the 2017 figures.

For individual schools, by far the largest individual difference follows the shambles at Holcombe Grammar School, which also saw a fall from 76% to 7% of appeals upheld.

As usual, there is no obvious pattern amongst non-selective schools, although I look at outcomes in each District below.

The four Dartford grammars had just 17 successful appeals between them, out of 407, Dartford Grammar having most appeals heard, at 129, closely followed by Wilmington Boys at 125. The highest success rates at Kent grammar schools in 2017 have come down from last year, although still led by Invicta Grammar at 77% (down from the 89% of 65 appeals in 2017).

Further details below, including primary appeals heard by Local Authority Panels. You will find appeal panel data (along with other information) for each secondary school in Kent and Medway here....

 I am very grateful to all the 77 schools (some via KCC) which held appeals, that have all sent me responses. 

A new phenomenon is the large number of appeals  being submitted this autumn across a number of schools, perhaps reflecting unhappiness with the school originally allocated. 

Follow the links to find my general appeal information and advice for Kent Grammars, Medway Grammars, and oversubscription for grammars and non-selectives. Other recent articles include Kent and Medway Test outcomes and Kent GCSE results 2018.

Most Kent secondary schools are Academies, Foundation or Voluntary Aided schools, with the right to choose their Appeal Panel provider. For the past few years the secondary school split has been roughly equal between Panels provided by KCC and other providers. 

Kent & Medway School Appeals 2018
  Number of Schools Heard  Upheld 
Grammar   32  1771 535 1236  30%
Non-Selective 26  544  139  405  26%
Infant/Primary Breach  99  181  2  179  1%
Infant/Primary (other)  9  11  8  3  73%
Junior (2017)  6  8  5  3  63%
Grammar 6 256 66 216


Non-Selective 4


34  100  25%
 Infant/Primary  8 12  1  11 8%
 Primary Academies (heard by KCC Panels)  11  34  1  33  3%



You will find outcomes of all individual secondary school appeal outcomes for Kent here and Medway here including nearly all for 2018. Several pages are out of date because of pressure on time but I am happy to update appeal data if requested. The second of two articles on appeal outcomes in 2017 is here. I don't collect details of Reception appeals for the small number of individual primary schools, that organise their own appeals, as success rates are likely to be equally low because of Infant Class Legislation.

Whilst many schools will tend to see similar patterns year on year, circumstances for individual schools can change sharply, as can be seen from the Individual Schools tables, with some examples below.

Grammar School Appeals
Whilst there is a set academic standard for the Kent and Medway Tests, Independent Appeal Panels will set their own standard, which can vary according to pressure on places, space available and school expectations. Where KCC is the administration body, I have not been provided with a breakdown of appeals upheld between children who have previously been found selective and are appealing because the school is full, and those who have been found non-selective who may be appealing on both grounds. Such appeals are organised by the KCC Legal and Democratic Services Department, independent of education. For other grammar appeals, I have been supplied with a breakdown of outcomes for both groups of children.
East Kent
Just two schools heavily oversubscribed: Simon Langton Boys upheld its traditional 7/8 cases all of whom were previously selective. Queen Elizabeth’s has a different pattern, with around half of those appeals which were upheld being initially non-selective.

In Thanet, there was controversy as the head of Dane Court attacked Chatham and Clarendon in the media alleging that they (as do some other grammar and non-selective schools) took on a large number of additional pupils through the appeal process to boost finances. This follows a decision by C&C to get rid of the previous Independent Panel after the 2015 appeals because they were not upholding enough appeals. KCC Panels have ever since been more obliging, as can be seen from the data, with 54 out of 82 appeals being upheld. This has also created concern amongst other local schools; primaries, as they see what they regard as clearly non-selective children being assessed grammar, and non-selective schools being raided of their more promising pupils. Dane Court itself saw a fall in its rate of appeals upheld to 11%.

Similar concerns have been expressed in Canterbury about Simon Langton Girls, which has suffered a fall in popularity following recent controversy, although this year the success rate fell to 64% from 2017’s sky high 82%, all initially non-selective. The heavily oversubscribed Simon Langton Boys operates an opposite policy, with the Independent Panel upholding 7 or 8 appeals each year almost always, as in 2018, from boys previously found selective. The mixed Barton Court having previously been generous with its appeals to boost numbers has now reached capacity so just 7 appeals, 6 from pupils already selective were upheld.

Dover Grammar Girls and Highsted Grammar (girls) continue to see a high rate of success, although Harvey Grammar fell sharply to 10%. Other schools were all below the county pass rate of 30%, including Borden where some appellants, although being found of grammar school ability by the Panel, were placed on the waiting list. 

Mid Kent
High numbers of appeals and high success rates at three of the grammars, although none were oversubscribed. Invicta continues to have the highest success rate in the county at 77%. Maidstone Grammar had 30 appeals with 10 upheld, numbers falling after its unnecessary increase by a form of entry, pillaging Oakwood Park which made up numbers through its 76% of appeals upheld. 

High success rates at both of the Ashford grammars.

North West Kent
I feel so sorry for those local children who were near misses in the Kent Test with strong academic records, as their chances of success at appeal are minimal. They almost certainly won’t get in at the two Dartford Grammars which expect even local boys and girls to gain strong passes if they are to be offered places on appeal (at least Dartford Girls Panel offered places this year, in 2017 it was zero out of 93 appeal heard).  London families chasing places push the out of area requirement ever higher, with Dartford Grammar regularly setting the highest Kent Test requirement for outers in the county. The two Wilmington grammars have moved to give priority for most of their places to local children, so most of the outers are now siblings, a proportion which will shrink over the years. Those with an exceptional record may stand a small chance at appeal for the two Wilmingtons, but as the 2018 statistics show, don’t get too excited.


 Appeal Outcomes at Dartford
Grammars in 2018
   Appealed  Upheld
% Upheld
Dartford   129 4 3% 
 71 2 3% 
 121 5  4% 
 86 6  7 

The Gravesend Boys Panel was faced with both a large number of boys appealing from London Boroughs and also Essex, and a surge in numbers of local boys passing the Kent Test. With 40 appellants already being found selective, 13 had appeals upheld, mainly or wholly from the local area of Longfield and New Ash Green. One other boy was offered a place from the 81 appellants. At Mayfield, just one of the 14 girls originally found selective was offered a place, along with 12 others as the Panel also appears to have favoured local girls.

West Kent
For the five grammar schools with their own appeal panels, just two of the 26 successful appeals had not previously been found selective out of a total of 176 heard. Judd saw most successes with 10 appeals upheld. Weald of Kent had 17 successes out of 70, although most if not all were directed to the Sevenoaks annexe site where there was still space. The Tunbridge Wells Boys Panel took a mixture of previously selective and non-selective boys as it admitted an extra form of entry.
This section and indeed the county appeals news is inevitably led by events at Holcombe Grammar, in the most outrageous and disgraceful appeal conduct I have seen in some 15 years of following outcomes (although there are certainly some other spectacular cases). In an attempt the change the character of the school, The Thinking School’s Academy Trust provided false written information to the Appeal Panel, about the nature of the Medway Test, muddling it up with the Kent Test that had very different pass marks. The Trust then denied it had submitted the false evidence, then after I demanded an investigation, admitted the fault but claimed it had been corrected at each of the 47 appeals, although all of the appellants who had been in contact with me denied having heard any correction. Even after the decisions were sent out there were weeks of chaos as the school and Medway Council argued over how to interpret them. Just 4 appeals upheld out of 47 against 30 in 2017. The saga begins here.

The other five grammar schools all had similar outcomes to previous years and, apart from Chatham Grammar Girls,  all 31 successful appeals at the other four came from pupils who had previously been found selective.

Non-Selective Schools
Nearly all non-selective schools organise appeals after grammar appeal outcomes are known, as these free up spaces and in some cases remove the need for an appeal panel completely.

In total 31 non-Selective  organised held appeals across Kent and Medway, 18 using KCC Panels, with 29% of appeals being upheld.

Otherwise, there are few common factors in any of these sets of appeals, as they reflect individual school circumstances, so I suggest you consult the data for Individual Schools for details.   

The most pressured districts are Thanet and Maidstone. In Thanet, where four of the six schools are heavily oversubscribed as many families try and avoid the other two, there were 146 appeals with 24 upheld, just 16% successful, although many families will have made multiple appeals. St George's CofE Foundation School saw 4 appeals upheld out of 50 appeals. 

In Maidstone, there is considerable polarisation of popularity amongst the non-selective schools. All six with appeals held these using KCC Panels. The three most popular - St Simon Stock, Maplesden Noakes and Valley Park - upheld just 9% of appeals out of 119 heard, with St Simon Stock allowing no one through for the second year running. St Augustine's Academy and The Malling School held appeals for the first time. 

Dartford, which not so long ago featured Leigh Academy as the most oversubscribed school in the county, had just 6 appeals in two schools, Dartford College of Science and Technology and the new Inspiration School - part of the Leigh Academy Trust that runs four of the six Dartford schools.

Most difficult school to win an appeal was Bennett Memorial, where just one out of 24 appeals was upheld. I know from past experience that it normally takes a very special set of circumstances to convince the appeal panel. My previous article on the shortage of non-selective places in Tunbridge Wells identified over 100 children with no local school of their choice, 87 being allocated by KCC at High Weald Academy in Cranbrook and Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge, two schools run by the troubled Brook Learning Trust. The 24 out of 38 appeals upheld at the only non-secular school in the District, Skinners Kent Academy, will have gone some way to reducing this figure. 

Next in difficulty comes Brompton Academy, the second most oversubscribed school in Kent and Medway (to St George’s Foundation School in Thanet which had a very similar statistic last year), where just 5 out of 63 appeals was successful. On the other hand, Rainham School for Girls had all 18 appeals upheld.

Primary School Appeals
This year’s data, in common with previous years, underlines the difficulty of winning a Primary School Appeal where Infant Class Legislation applies. Across Kent, there were just two  appeals upheld out of 196, in Medway two out of 46. The successful appeals are often against mistakes made in the allocation process. You will find an  panels, explanation of the reasons for this here. A few other schools, together with Junior Schools are not subject to this constraint and, with the low numbers involved, success is much more likely if you have a good case.




Last modified on Tuesday, 08 October 2019 19:57


  • Comment Link Monday, 23 September 2019 13:01 posted by BH

    Do you have any plans to publish an updated 2019 version of this excellent article summarising appeals per school please Peter? PETER: In progress just waiting for a few schools. If you have any particular schools of interest let me know and i will post them in Individual schools section currently being updated.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 28 October 2018 20:46 posted by Andie W

    What a mess. You hear of parents spending hours and weeks analysing all the factors that might secure a decision and the reasons why the school should admit more children. You appear to suggest it is more important to understand the expectations of the school with the appeal panel falling into line. PETER: You are partially right. What this analysis shows is that there are few general rules about panel operation. It is certainly worthwhile looking at previous outcomes but as the Holcombe debacle shows nothing can be guaranteed. The real question is: Is the Independent Appeal Panel process fit for purpose? Answer: It is looking ever more doubtful.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 23 October 2018 16:32 posted by Steve

    Peter, am I correct in reading that all successful appeals for Chatham Grammar School for Girls we’re from Girls that had passed the 11+? I ask because I know parents who intend to make an appeal for 2019 entry despite having narrowly passed the Kent or Medway test. This was on the basis that in previous years the school has accepted more Girls on appeal and a number of them were not deemed selective ability. PETER: No, quite the reverse. No appeals were from girls who were previously grammar qualified. Look at Chatham Girls in the Individual Schools section for more details.

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