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Sunday, 15 November 2020 12:57

School Appeals: Kent and Medway 2020


Grammar School Appeals
Whilst there is a set academic standard for a pass in 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. Appeals are of three types. (1) straightforward appeals against a non-selective (N/S) decision, where there is still room in the school; (2) straightforward appeals for children who have been found to be of grammar school standard (GSS), but lost out because the school is full and they are not far enough up the oversubscription criteria list; (3) a combination of (1) but where the school is also full, so there is a double hurdle to jump.  

For (2) and (3) the school will usually have a clear view on whether it can accommodate additional pupils, and express this to the Panel, who will usually take this into account. Such views tend to be clear from individual school outcomes in my Individual Schools Information sections. 

I recommend this section be read in conjunction with Oversubscription and Vacancies, Kent Grammar Schools, 2020 where the story starts. 

East Kent Grammar
The biggest problem this year was created by a rise in the pass rate in Thanet, which has caused pressure on places at both Chatham and Clarendon and Dane Court grammars. This has been exacerbated for years by a number of families desperate to escape from what they regard as unsuitable non-selective schools (N/S)  they have been offered and are willing to ‘have a go’. In previous years this has seen some success. As a result, whilst 66% of appeals were upheld for C&C in 2018, it fell sharply to 14% in 2019 and 8% this year. All of the six successes were children previously found N/S, with none of the three previously found GSS having appeals upheld. Dane Court has always been more difficult, but not this year with 12% upheld, compared with 11% in 2018 and an out of character 31% in 2019.
Thanet Grammar Appeals 2020
  Appeals Upheld %
Chatham and Clarendon 78 6 8%
Dane Court 51 6 12%

 In Canterbury, the pattern of Simon Langton Boys Grammar appeals has proved very unpredictable, with eight of the nine successful appeals this year being previously GSS, whereas in 2019, there were no appeals from GSS boys, but still 10 appeals upheld. Simon Langton Grammar Girls has difficulty attracting pupils so the 35 successes at appeal, or 71% is typical. The mixed Barton Court Grammar tries to keep to its intake of 150, so this year’s 11% success rate is typical.

Borden Grammar in Sittingbourne is also under considerable pressure,  having been oversubscribed for the first time for some years. Just eight appeals upheld, of which five were oversubscription GSS. Another 15 placed on the waiting list. 

Visit my individual school pages for the other six grammar schools.  

Mid Kent Grammar
The four Maidstone grammar schools all saw success rates in the same range as in 2019, with Maidstone Girls once again having the second-highest percentage in the county upheld at 69%. At Maidstone Grammar, the KCC Panel upheld seven of the nine appeals from previously GSS families, along with 11 others, a total of 28% of appeals heard. The school had turned away 60 first choices on allocation in March, so there will have been many unsuccessful GSS appellants from the total of 46 appeals not upheld. Many of these will have been offered places at Oakwood Park which filled on allocation for the first time in many years. 20 of the 85 Oakwood appeals were upheld, another 25 boys being placed on the waiting list after being found GSS. As the population of Ashford continues to rise rapidly and the expanded grammar schools are filling, the success rate there is falling, with Highworth down from 60% of appeals upheld in 2019 to 21% this year, and Norton Knatchbull down from 56% to 36%.
North West Kent Grammar
As I have reported for too many years, I feel so sorry for those Dartford local children who are near misses in the Kent Test with strong academic records, as their chances of success at an appeal for grammar school admission are minimal. This year, not one of the 132 appeals for initially N/S children was upheld. 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. 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 grammar schools 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 either of these two schools, but as the 2020 statistics show, don’t get too excited for next year. No appeals were successful at Wilmington Girls Grammar.
 Appeal Outcomes at Dartford
Grammars in 2020
   Appealed  Upheld
Grammar Assessed
% Upheld
Dartford   134  5 5 4% 
 76  7 7 9% 
 136 6 6 4% 
 64 0 0 0% 

Appeal Panels at both Gravesend grammar schools, as usual, appear to favour local children. Gravesend Grammar had 92 appeals for boys, 34 of them already of GSS, but none of these was successful, almost certainly from outside Kent. 14 were upheld, none of whom had previously been successful in the Kent Test. Mayfield which proved the most reluctant of all 32 grammar schools to supply the 2020 data for some reason, had 61% of its 62 appeals upheld, 19 of them for girls who had previously been found of GSS.  

West Kent Grammar
No surprises here,  with the top five schools in the table beneath all seeing very similar numbers upheld at appeal for several years.
West Kent Appeals 2020
  Appeals Upheld
% Upheld
Cranbrook 31 2 1 6%
Judd 58 8 8 17%
Skinners 63 5 3 8%
Tonbridge 30 2 1 7%
TWGGS 37 4 3 10%
TWGSB 66 18 2 27%
Weald 102 20 0 20%
 Medway Grammar Appeals
In a recent article, I described the Medway Grammar School Admissions Procedure as 'not fit for purpose'. One element of this was a look at Medway grammar school appeals for 2020, here The disgraceful bias against boys throughout the process, exposed in that article, is exemplified here. 59 girls initially found N/S were offered grammar school places on appeal at Chatham Grammar, against between one and four boys at Holcombe Grammar, although there could have been another at Rainham Mark. It is likely that most if not all of The Math successful appeals will either be from the Hoo Peninsula, or else close on the furthest distance cut off of the oversubscription criteria. The two Thinking Schools Academy Trust schools, Holcombe and The Rochester Grammar, have both made clear by their actions that they prefer to fill their schools with GSS London children, rather than local boys and girls who didn't quite make the grade, but along with the sharp fall in popularity as explained here, the number of appeals has also fallen sharply, from 48 to 20. This attitude will only increase the additional bias against socially deprived children for 2021 admission, created by coronavirus.  
Medway Grammar Appeals 2020
  Appeals Upheld
Chatham Girls 63 59 0 94%
Fort Pitt* 28 4 2 14%
Holcombe 47 9-12 8 19-26%
Rainham Mark 43 9 8 21%
Rochester 20 6 6 30%
Sir Joseph Williamson 80 14 14 18%
Next Page: Individual Districts for Non-Selective and Primary School Appeals

Last modified on Saturday, 16 October 2021 17:57

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