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Friday, 27 March 2020 19:27

Oversubscription & Vacancies Kent Grammar Schools 2020


Note on Coronavirus: There are various references to school admission appeals in this article, based on normal expectations . At the time of writing there is no information about  the procedure to be adopted this year, except that it has to be very different from normal, as explained here

The number of Kent grammar school places available for Year Seven pupils has risen by 70 places overall since last year, to 5,540, with a total increase of 610 over the past five years.  The main changes are 30 additional places at each of three North West Kent grammars, Gravesend and Wilmington Boys & Girls grammars, together with a reduction of 30 places at Tunbridge Wells Boys (but may well be reversed at appeal time). The number of places offered before appeals is 5,417, up by 195 from 5,212 in 2019. A major cause for this is an increase in the total pass rate for grammar selection from 25.7% in 2019 to 26.6% for 2020 entry. 

Around 400 of the Kent grammar school places offered, or 7% (down from 8% in 2019) of the total, went to pupils from outside of the county (ooc), with 154 Kent pupils (down from 223) going to out of county grammars, mainly in Medway. 150 ooc pupils coming in were offered places at the two Dartford Grammar schools with the pressure on places at these two schools continuing to rise inexorably.  Dartford Grammar School had an astonishing 409 grammar qualified first choices turned down for its 180 places, up from 336 in 2019.  The next most popular schools were unsurprisingly Dartford Girls, The Judd School, Skinners, Tonbridge Grammar, and Wilmington Boys, in the same order as 2019. The number of vacancies has fallen sharply from 217 in 2019 to 123 this year across six schools.     

Chatham House 2   Dane Court 

Thanet is a surprising black spot for grammar school applications, with Dane Court and Chatham & Clarendon turning down 79 grammar qualified first choices between them. At least 47 of these had no alternative local grammar school to meet their needs. This follows a sharp raise in the proportion of Thanet children being assessed selective from 19% in 2018, to 23% this year. 

I look below at the outcomes by area in more detail, including levels of oversubscription and vacancies. you will find full details of the 2019 Kent selection process here

Please note that some numbers are approximate for two reasons. Pupils on Education Health Care Plans are not included in the data I have been provided with and I have estimated these. Secondly KCC does not provide exact figures where numbers are less than five, which for example explains the approximation in OOC figures. For simplicity, I have used my best estimate in such circumstances. 

You will find: the equivalent article via the links for: 2020 Kent grammar schools here, 2020 Kent non-selective schools here; an initial article on 2020 allocation here, that also provides cut off scores for the super-selective schools; and for Medway grammar schools 2020 here.  

You will find application numbers, appeal statistics and academic performance for the past few years, together with the Ofsted record for each school at the Individual Schools section of this website. Please let me know of any not up to date that you would wish to see, and I will revise them.  

Please note that all statistics in this website refer to grammar qualified children, both via the Kent Test and also through local Tests available through six grammar schools as explained below. My analysis of 2019 Kent Test outcomes for 2020 entry is here.   

To find allocation details and commentary for Individual Schools in:

North West Kent - go to Page 1
West Kent - go to Page 2
Ashford and Maidstone - go to Page 3
Dover and Folkestone - go to Page 4
East Kent - go to Page 5 
By far the most oversubscribed school by grammar qualified first choices is once again Dartford Grammar turning away 409 boys for its 180 places. I am afraid the overwhelming majority of  the disappointed boys stand no chance off the waiting list or at appeal.

Immediately below is  a full list of those schools oversubscribed by more than 25 first choices (grammar qualified) over places. This pattern will change following re-allocation and successful appeals in coming months, which can alter the picture significantly, as schools admit additional pupils. In some cases these are drawn from other grammars. Last year 29% of the 1,982 Kent grammar school appeals were successful ranging from none at Dartford Girls through to 86% at Highsted, followed by 70% at Simon Langton Girls and 66% at Maidstone Girls

Apart from the Thanet oversubscription, the biggest individual surprise is probably at Skinners in the second year of its new admission criteria. The increase in the aggregate pass score in the Kent Test explained here, whilst not changing the proportion of children passing, has had an unintended consequence at the school. This has seen the cut off distance for the majority of offers shrinking dramatically as explained below.   

Dartford 180 409 81 130 6
Dartford Girls  180  246  69  91 0
Judd 180  167 17 58 9
Skinners 160 148 21 53 4
Tonbridge  180 105  29  30 2
Wilmington Boys 150 64 18 114 8
Maidstone 205 60 0 68 18
Dane Court 165 50 0 68 21
Wilmington Girls 150 36 46  91 4
Sir Roger Manwood's 150 34 5 31 10
Simon Langton Boys 150 31 0 21 10
Chatham & Clarendon 180 29 0 130 18
Tunbridge Wells Girls 145 29 5 30 8
Weald of Kent 300 27 55 96 19
Note *  ooc - Out of County
You will find the comparative data for 2019 admission here.
There are currently 123 empty spaces for September (down from 217 in 2019). There were just six grammar schools with vacancies on allocation, down from ten in 2019, as the total number fell sharply. Nearly half were at one school, Maidstone Grammar School for Girls with its 55 empty spaces at present, although traditionally it admits a large number through appeal, with 75 out of 114 appeals being upheld in 2019. The other Maidstone girls’ grammar, Invicta did not quite fill with one empty space.

All appeals at the six schools in the table below will be from children with a non-selective decision after the Kent Test procedure and most of the vacancies will vanish after appeals and late applications. Last year there were just four schools with vacancies at the October 2019 census in Year Seven: Dover Grammar Boys’ with 15; Tunbridge Wells Boys with 13 (having increased its Admission number by 30); Norton Knatchbull 10 (admission umber increased by 60); and Oakwood Park 2.

Four schools with vacancies in 2019 filled this year: Barton Court  (5 empty spaces last year now one first choice oversubscribed); Borden (16 last year, 9); Highworth (21 last year, 2);  Oakwood Park (41 last year, 0);

Maidstone Girls 180 55 114 75
Norton Knatchbull 210 23 66 37
Dover  Boys 150 23 9 4
Simon Langton Girls 165 19 44 31
Highsted 150 3 75 45
Invicta  240 89 20

Individual School Survey. This looks at the situation for each Kent grammar school, below, including the number of first choices offered. At my request, KCC included the number of children with Education Health Care Plans offered places in these figures, otherwise they would have redacted this information (as happened last year).

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Last modified on Thursday, 25 March 2021 12:46


  • Comment Link Saturday, 30 January 2021 16:26 posted by Sam

    Hi can you please advise how to find out how many Governor places are offered and taken up by OOC girlsveach year at Tonbridge Girls Grammar. You have in your tables, but unsure of the source and would like for the last few years. Thanks PETER: My tables are based on official data, and include OOC girls and governor places. The two intersect but are not the same. I have updated the TGS Individual School information to provide the answers to your question. I have no information on how many of these girls turned up in the September following.

  • Comment Link Friday, 03 April 2020 04:54 posted by Furious Thanet Parent

    Is there anyone in Thanet capable of running anything? Answers on a post card please.

  • Comment Link Friday, 03 April 2020 04:52 posted by Very Angry Parent

    What a shambles. This shows for all to see that Thanet really is at the end of the pier as far as anyone in Kent cares. How stupid can the local headteachers panel be to label so many children grammar school standard when there are no grammar schools to receive them. Take Hartsdown and Royal Harbour away from the inept Coastal Trust and give them to Swale Academies Trust to sort out. There will be blood on the table but our children must come first.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 02 April 2020 23:19 posted by Angry parent

    As a St Nicholas at Wade parent whose child passed the Kent Test with flying colours I still don't know how to explain to them why they are going to Hartsdown, fourth lowest performing school in the country. I thought an 11+ pass guaranteed a grammar school place. PETER: I am afraid it doesn't. KCC has a responsibility to provide sufficient appropriate school places, but this is not an obligation. I am so sorry for you and all the others in the same boat, but have no solution I am afraid. Nothing to stop you going to appeal, but don't hold your breathe.

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