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Friday, 29 March 2019 17:47

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Kent Grammar Schools on Allocation for 2019

I consider all these schools together, as there is considerable movement between the geographical areas. 
 
The most interesting school is Simon Langton Boys in Canterbury, which has expanded by 30 places to 150, even though it has seen 37 fewer first choices than in 2018, a larger fall than all but two other grammar schools in the county. The decision, probably in consultation with KCC, is to tackle the lack of grammar school places for boys in Whitstable and Herne Bay. This has produced  serious problems in terms of provision and led to a number of so far unsuccessful proposals that have been ongoing since 1985. As a result, for the first time in many years, I have had no enquiries from such families.  There is no issue for girls as Simon Langton Girls still has vacancies. 
 
The other grammar school accessible to Canterbury and District boys who have not reached the higher cut off of at Simon Langton, is the mixed Barton Court. The school, 15 first choices oversubscribed in 2018  has five vacancies this year as a result of the Simon Langton expansion and  150 places has a high figure of 39 second and third choices offered, all likely to be boys who failed to gain access to Simon Langton. Just  7 out of 74 appeals were upheld in 2018. The school has a history of being keen to expand, especially to meet demand in Whitstable and Herne Boy, recently here.  Another new approach, building on the government's project to expand grammar schools where there is support for disadvantaged pupils has been now proposed by Barton Court and Queen Elizabeth's in Faversham in competition with each other. Just 18% of appeals were upheld last year.
 
Simon Langton Girls was mired in scandal for several years, seeing admissions drop sharply, but is now through this  but is managed by the Boys school. For 2019 it had just eight places vacant for its 165 places with 150 first choices, both a great improvement on previous years and confirming its troubles are over. As a result its success rate for appeals is falling, although still high, from 82% in 2017, to 64% in 2018, all of girls who had been unsuccessful in the Kent Test. The school is about to be rebuilt
 
Queen Elizabeth’s in Faversham is the other heavily oversubscribed grammar in the East of the county, with 174 first choices for its 140 places. It draws applications from Whitstable/Herne Bay, although  many  are unsuccessful on distance grounds, as well as towards Sittingbourne and Canterbury. Fewer appeals than normal in 2018, with 15 out of 34 upheld. 
 
Borden and Highsted grammar schools in Sittingbourne, usually just about fill. Highsted has kept the 2018 increase to by 30 girls to 150, benefitting from having  admitted 29 girls through its own test. The 13% Pupil Premium girls admitted last year  is the sixth highest county figure, under all the Dover and Folkestone schools, but suggesting the own test does contribute towards this figure. Highsted Grammar is also consulting on an 'expansion' to an intake of 150 pupils, merely consolidating the situation over the past two years, but aiming to attract funding for new premises through its proposal to the Government's Selective School Expansion Scheme. It quotes misleadingly its Disadvantaged pupil ratio of 10% compared to the national 3%, an oft quoted but irrelevant comparison as many other grammars select in very different ways to Kent schools. More realistically it has 13% Pupil Premium girls in Years 7-11, above the county average of 10%. Borden has seen a fall in first preferences to 94, its lowest in five years, leaving 16 vacancies for its 120 places, just eight shy of Highsted's first preferences with Kent Test passes. Some boys and girls from the area look to places at Queen Elizabeth's or one of the Maidstone grammars. .
 
The east coast of Kent has the distinction that all three grammar schools are co-educational, all of which are full for the second year running: Sir Roger Manwoods; Dane Court  with 165 of its 190 first choices being offered for its 165 places, its popularity locally being uniquely underlined by having all offers made to first choices, although it reduced its intake by 10 places from 2018; and Chatham & Clarendon with 154 of its 159 first choices being offered places as it filled 180 places, down by 10 from 2018). Chatham and Clarendon will have made offers to some boys from Herne Bay who did not get Canterbury or Faversham places.  Not strictly relevant, but on allocation enormous pressure on local non-selective schools, so some appeals are made purely to try and avoid the two very unpopular schools. There was controversy locally 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

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Last modified on Saturday, 06 April 2019 06:10

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