Supporting Families
  • banner13
  • banner10
  • banner3
  • banner11
  • banner9
  • banner7
  • banner8
  • banner12
  • banner2
  • banner6
Friday, 27 March 2020 19:27

Oversubscription & Vacancies Kent Grammar Schools 2020


 North West Kent
This section looks at local grammar schools, but you will find a fuller profile on each school in the Individual  Schools Section of the website. This includes historical patterns of applications, appeals, academic progress and Ofsted records for each school separately. There is an analysis of 2019 Appeals here, and links to various other relevant articles on the front page. I am conscious that many browsers will be looking for information and advice on school appeals, and my specific article on Coronavirus and Appeals is here. At the time of writing, there is no further information on what the procedure will look like. The equivalent 2019 page is here.     
The ever increasing popularity of the super selective Dartford Grammar is driven by its easy access from SE London, and leapt again this year to 551 first choice applications for its 180 places, up from 476 last year. The admission criteria cuts out large numbers of grammar qualified local boys who failed to achieve the ‘inner’ required aggregate score of 379 against a Kent Test pass level of 330, with its maximum of 421. For those outside the tight local area the requirement is 399 or more. 81 of the school’s 180 places went to high scoring out of county boys - just short of half the 180 places available. Others qualifying for the 'outer places' will live in Kent from outside the tight local parishes criterion.  60 of these came from Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham. That very high number of 409 first choices turned down suggests there will be little movement on the waiting list, especially there have not been more than six appeals upheld in any of the past six years (2019 there were six successes out of 130 heard). This is echoed by the situation at Dartford Grammar Girls (see below). Some years ago, when the two schools changed their admission criteria and were challenged with complaints to the Schools Adjudicator, both assured him that local children would not be disadvantaged. This assurance was self-evidently false. There appears no appetite at either school to expand and dilute their elite status. 

In fact, is very difficult to win an appeal at any of the four Dartford grammar schools in spite of the very high numbers of appellants; a total of 18 upheld out of 426 in 2019.

The new Ebbsfleet Garden City continues to expand, planned to provide 15,000 homes at a rapid pace, with a number of new schools being included as explained here. However, government legislation forbids the provision of new grammar schools so, at present the four Wilmington and Gravesend grammars are expanding to meet the need. The Kent Schools Commissioning Plan (KSCP) identifies the additional one form of entry at Gravesend Grammar School which has been provided to meet the need this year. Two more forms of entry for the Gravesend grammars are planned in 2021-22. In Dartford, there are to be two more forms of entry in 2021-22, which presumably match the much needed two additional forms of entry provided at the two Wilmington grammar schools one year early for 2020, with another two in the District in three years time, unspecified. With the two Dartford grammars determined to keep their exclusive character, and the Wilmingtons’ on a limited size site, it is difficult to see where these places will be provided. Unfortunately, Kent County Council has decided its KSCP (Page 5) will not consider the effect of  further provision for planned housing developments and does not mention Ebbsfleet, so we can expect further capacity problems ahead. 

The knock-on effect of all this pressure follows right along the Thames coast to Chatham, where Holcombe Grammar offered 42 places to Kent and London families, and Rochester Grammar 83.   

Wilmington Grammar Boys has given priority to local boys for several years, but is often placed second to Dartford Grammar which partly explains why 106  of the 180 places went to lower choices and only  74 of 134 first choices were offered places. The school also gives a priority to siblings and siblings of pupils at Wilmington Girls, partly explaining why 18 ooc boys are still being offered places at the school, although the number continues to fall. 

Gravesend Grammar has increased its PAN in two stages to 210 boys up from the 150 of 2017 to meet the pressure from Ebbsfleet. The school markets itself as a local grammar, so it is not surprising that 175 of the 185 first choices were offered places. 8 of the 12 occ places went to boys from Thurrock, just a short distance from the school across the Thames by ferry. Apart from siblings, Thurrock boys would be unlikely to gain places in 2021 as the school has changed its oversubscription criteria to prioritise Ebbsfleet boys after those who live locally.  

The pattern for the girls’ grammars is similar but far less severe, Dartford Girls having started chasing London pupils more recently. Required aggregate scores have risen again, with local girls (from a wider area than the boys' school) being required to score at least 372 (up from 359 in 2019), with outers 393 (up from 385).There were 404 first choices of which 158 were offered places, second only to Dartford Grammar in terms of rejected first choices. In the last four years there have been just five successful appeals, a record low for any school, and including none in 2019.

Wilmington Girls changed four years ago to give main priority to local girls, but the number from London has not gone down so fast as the boys; school and is still 46. There were 133 first choices for 180 places (down from 148 in 2019), of which 97 were offered places. 

Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend admits girls through its own Test, as well as through the Kent Test, with 13 being offered places who did not pass the Kent Test, down from the 33 of 2019 (see Table below).  Further details here. 173 first choices for its 180 places, of which 165 were offered places. Few than five offered from out of county. 

Last modified on Thursday, 25 March 2021 12:46


  • 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.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.