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Thursday, 17 October 2019 06:00

Kent Test 2019; Initial Results and Comment

Kent Test results have been published with the pass mark somewhat higher than last year. This is no reflection on the difficulty of the Test as the pass marks will have been set as always to identify 21% of Kent children to be automatically selected. This year an automatic pass has been awarded to candidates scoring 110 on each of the three sections - English, mathematics, and reasoning – along with an aggregate score across the three sections of at least 330. Further details will follow as I receive them, but you will find for reference a full analysis of the 2018 Kent Test here. An additional number of children will have been found to be of grammar school standard through what is called the Headteacher Assessment, targeted to be 5% of the total cohort. You will find full details of the whole Kent Selection process here. Overall, these two processes last year yielded passes for 25.2% of Kent children in the age cohort.

Although there is an overall fall in then number of children taking the Kent Test, this will certainly be down to a sharp fall in Out of County (OOC) candidates. For, whilst there is a rise of exactly 300 in the number of Kent children being assessed as suitable for grammar school for 2020 over last year, there has been a fall in the number of  OOC children passing for the first time in many years . I explore this further below, along with sections on Sources of Information and Advice on admissions and appeals, Out of County Children, and Pressure PointsIn a second article below, I look at implications of the change of pass mark, especially any impact on super selective schools.  

There is considerable information and advice on admissions and appeals to Kent schools, including grammar schools specifically, on the right-hand side of this page together with links to important articles. In response to multiple enquiries each year you cannot: appeal the Kent Test Results; challenge the Head Teacher Assessment; or arrange a late HTA.  What you can do is apply for one or more grammar schools and then appeal against decision of the schools to turn you down if your child did not pass the Kent Test. You will find the parallel article for the Medway test here

Please do not try and post comments about individual situations. This is not a forum.  I am afraid I have retired from offering individual advice.

KCC now make individual test scores available to parents who registered online from 4 p.m. today, Thursday 17th October, available from 5 p.m. online.

As last year, I  shall be publishing a second article later when I receive more data from KCC. You will find initial figures released by KCC below, mainly taken from the official press release, together with further information. I find that the information articles on this website (right hand side of this article and every page of the website), with links below, answer the majority of questions I receive. 

Although KCC cannot guarantee every Kent child who has passed a place in a Kent grammar school (and not necessarily of their choice), there were few reported cases in recent years of grammar qualified Kent children  who were looking for a place not being offered one, the exception being the Greenhithe/Ebbsfleet area of NW Kent with some families having to go to appeal. Further thoughts below. 

On top of the 4941 Kent children found selective, some 350 additional pupils are eligible for a single grammar school every year through success in the Dover, Shepway, Mayfield (Gravesend Girls) or Highsted (Sittingbourne Girls) Tests.

Please note that this article has been produced to meet the Thursday 4 p.m. deadline for release of results and is likely to be revised at my leisure, if I have any over the next three weeks!  

Kent Test Results 2019 For Admission in 2020
  Kent Schools Out of County & Other  
  Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total
Grand
Total
Sat Kent Test 2019             16207
Assessed Suitable
For Grammar
Admission 2020
    4941     2794 7735
Sat Kent Test 2018 5837 5465  11302  2657  2615  5712 16656
Assessed Suitable
For Grammar
Admission 2019
 2319
 2283
4641
1530
 1535
 
3065
7706
Sat Kent Test 2017 5185 5528 10713     4832 15937
Assessed Suitable
For Grammar
Admission 2018
2138 2277 4650     2757 7407

Some 350 additional children are eligible for a single grammar school through success in the Dover, Shepway, Mayfield (Gravesend Girls) or Highsted (Sittingbourne Girls) Tests.

Notes: (1) I don't yet have data for boys and girls differentiated for this year, but will include this as soon as it is available

        (2)  'Other' includes children who are home educated. 

        (3) Some totals do not add up, as late adjustments are made. 

Please Note that this article has been produced to meet the Thursday 4 p.m. deadline and is likely to be revised at my leisure, if I have any over the next three weeks!

Sources of Information and Advice
You should always speak to your primary headteacher who should have an objective view and knowledge of your local situation.

For  further information you will find Oversubscription and vacancies in Kent Grammar schools on allocation for Admission September 2019 (via link) provides considerable information on pressure of places, as does the page on Kent Grammar School Applications for Entry in 2020. There is a series of pages on Individual Kent Secondary Schools, which also contain additional information on each school, including take up of places. I am afraid I am behind in updating some of these pages (look at update date in top left-hand corner), so if you would like more up recent information on  a particular school, please let me know. You will also find additional data on OFSTED Ratings (currently being inserted for every secondary school), Examination Performance, and Appeal Statistics together with other important news, comment and information here. Also try entering the name of the school you are interested in in the Website Search engine: this may provide other news, comment and information articles about that school over recent years.

I am about to publish an article on school appeals statistics for schools for entry in September 2019. You will find last year's article here, with a link to further outcomes, although I have already updated many 2019 appeal statistics for individual appeals. In the meantime you may wish to consult the relevant information pages for Kent Grammar School Appealsor Oversubscription Appeals the latter for both non-selective and grammar schools, or again the Individual Schools section.  

Out Of County Children
For the first time in many years there has been a fall in the number of OOC children passing the Kent Test, from 3065 to 2794, almost exactly balancing the rise in Kent children passing (contrast this with the increase in Medway where for the second year running there are more OOC passes than those by Medway children!). I suggest the main reason for this is the move in recent years by a number of Kent grammar schools to give priority for the large majority of their places to local children, namely, Judd, Skinners, and Wilmington Girls & Boys so there are considerably fewer opportunities for OOC to secure places. Indeed for 2019 entry the number of OOCs being allocated to Kent grammar school places fell this year to 399, from 565 in 2018. Of these 147 OOC children, almost exactly half the total, were offered places at just two Kent schools, Dartford Grammar and Dartford Grammar Girls.

I suspect the overwhelming majority of those 2666 OCCs who passed the Kent Test but were not offered places will have had other preferences met, including the M25 tourists, whose poor children take grammar school tests all around the ring.

Pressure Points
Kent County Council gives the number of grammar school places provided for September 2020 as 5305, up from 5215 last year. However this figure is misleading as there are different ways of assessing it, temporary places having been stripped out to produce the figures, although most will remain in practice. In addition, some grammar schools increase their intake further in response to demand. Last year, I counted a total of 5469 places available, 220 above the planned figure. Basically, no one will know authoritatively until schools make final decisions in the months leading up to next March. You will find all the relevant individual secondary school statistics for 2019 entry here.  However, an indeterminate proportion of grammar qualified Kent children will not take up places in Kent grammar schools this summer, many especially in West Kent, opting for private schools and others choosing grammar schools in other Authorities. This year 223 Kent children (151 the previous year) were allocated places in grammar schools outside the county, of whom 175 were to places in Medway schools.

Whereas in 2017 the proportion of Kent girls being found suitable for grammar school was be slightly higher than that for boys, last year it switched back again to 25.3% boys to 25.0% girls. I will know the 2019 proportions later. 

The main pressure areas are usually West and North West Kent and Whitstable/Herne Bay. In West Kent all Kent girls should get a grammar school place in the District, not always the one of their choice, because of the opening of the Weald of Kent annexe. The boys’ situation has eased considerably with additional places being put into all three schools and the two super-selectives, Judd and Skinners, now both giving priority for most of their places to local boys. There is always a shakedown in West Kent and some grammar qualified boys may need to go to appeal as in previous years, but all have been successful at one of the schools, to the best of my knowledge.

North West Kent continues to have the greatest pressure, caused by enormous numbers applying from London Boroughs, Dartford Grammar turning away 336 grammar qualified first choices last year (and rising year on year) and, along with the girls rejecting local applicants whose pass scores were not high enough (disgracefully and contrary to promises made to the Schools Adjudicator when he approved their new arrangements). However, the two Wilmington Grammars now give priority mainly to Kent children and although they have increased greatly in popularity should pick up all local children who have qualified and choose them, as the number of out of county siblings continues to fall. Last year there was a specific problem for boys and girls in the Greenhithe/Ebbsfleet area, but in the end I believe that all who wished secured places at one of the Gravesend grammars or at Wilmington. 

Whitstable/Herne Bay has been difficult for boys in the past, with no local grammar school and extensive building development in the area, but for 2019 Simon Langton Boys increased its number of places by 30 to 150 which appeared to eliminate the problem. There is not a problem in capacity for girls in the city.

 In other areas the situation can be fluid, and the 5305 places will certainly expand further, with temporary increases as schools measure demand and capacity.

There will always be horror stories about pressure on grammar school places -they make good media copy, especially with proposals to expand grammar school places (but expansion has been happening for years without legislation and will no doubt continue). The reality is that eight of the 32 Kent grammar schools had vacancies last March on allocation for the second year running, spread across the county apart from the West and NW. 

Finally
Whatever your situation, I wish you all the best in securing a place at the school of your choice. Last year in Kent, on allocation in March 79.1% of children were offered their first choice of school, and 95.3% one of their choices. Both those figures will have improved following re-allocation of places and appeal by the end of the summer. 

Last modified on Saturday, 19 October 2019 11:38

1 comment

  • Comment Link Sunday, 20 October 2019 16:56 posted by Sorrel

    The drop in OOC passes might also be because the test was moved back a week, so fell after the Bexley Test and no doubt others. There are plenty of people near Kent who take the test because they want a Kent school, or at least to have the option as a back up, but it will have stopped anyone using it purely as practice for Bexley or another test first full week back.

    Seems a good idea to have it a bit later anyway; gives the children who are less tutored/ prepared a chance to get their school heads back on. PETER: Your point about the Bexley Test is well made, but the likely reason the Test was later, is that the tight timetable to deliver results is defined by the National Closing Date for secondary applications which allowed it to work this year.

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