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Tuesday, 08 December 2020 06:23

Sixth Form Courses in Kent and Medway Schools


This article has been updated and re-published for the benefit of potential Sixth Form students in November 2021. 

Three years ago I surveyed the movement of students between some schools to take up 6th Form courses and was surprised how often it happened. There appears limited advice to Year 11 students on what the options are so I have carried out a more extensive analysis this year, looking at all 38 grammar schools across Kent and Medway and those 37 non-selective (N/S) schools running 6th Forms with an intake of over eighty students in 2019. Somewhat to my surprise, I have discovered that over a quarter of 6th form students in both grammar and N/S schools were in different schools for Year 11, with a healthy 15% of the total 6th Form numbers in grammars having transferred from N/S schools.  There is no co-ordinated admission system for 6th Form admission, so students can apply for as many schools as they wish. Whilst the number of external students to be admitted is theoretically capped, individual schools interpret this limitation in different ways, with many never reaching the limit. 

I believe this study is unique but is intended to encourage more young people to reflect and make a decision about what is best for them, rather than just carry on in the same school without making a positive decision, although this will still be right for most.

The school with by some way the largest 6th Form intake from outside is the non-selective (N/S) Canterbury Academy admitting 294 students from other schools, including 46 from grammar and private schools and 63 from abroad. It is followed in percentage terms by Simon Langton Boys Grammar, also in Canterbury with 160 external students including 86 from other grammar schools.

I look at some of the issues below, including a look across the county by District, what I have long maintained are unlawful conditional offers for entry to school 6th Forms, and the sadly most newsworthy school of all, the debacle at The Rochester Grammar School. 

Overall, there were 6301 students taking up places in Kent and Medway grammar schools this September, over a quarter from other schools including 971 from N/S and private schools.  My selection of the N/S schools with the largest 6th Forms has 4407 Year 12 students between them, again over a quarter from elsewhere, including 315 from grammar and private schools. Whereas grammar schools will in general offer A-Level courses (apart from four which run the International Baccalaureate (IB) instead), N/S schools may offer a mixture of A-Level, and vocational courses, the latter across one or two years. This study only looks at A-Level courses. Overall, 62% of Year 11 Kent students have transferred into the school Sixth Forms in both the previous two years, along with 57% of Medway students.   

In addition, there is a large Further Education (FE) sector mainly delivering vocational courses delivered through four colleges in Kent and Medway, although the Hadlow/West Kent group has had a major management failure and is now being broken up and redistributed across the other colleges. It is currently the only college that offers A-Level, but of course, this may now go.   

You will find an extensive article in my Information Section entitled 6th Form Admissions and Appeals – Kent Independent Education Advice which is exactly what it says, and is well worth reading. I have also updated this with a news article in August 2020: Coronavirus: 2020 GCSE Fiasco outcomes and Kent and Medway 6th Form Courses which contains much additional advice, and am not repeating the content here as this article has a different focus.
District Analysis
East Kent                Mid Kent
The next page looks at Movement between and into Grammar Schools in the Sixth Form
It is followed by pages on Movement between and from Non-Selective Schools in the Sixth Form and then the individual area surveys via the links immediately above. 

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Last modified on Saturday, 20 November 2021 20:16


  • Comment Link Friday, 28 January 2022 11:59 posted by Yvonne

    I totally agree with the comment about the self inflicted damage of Rochester Grammar. My daughter was one who left and crossed over the road to the Math School (Sir Joseph Williamson)

    Dare I say she was not the only one.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 10 December 2020 20:00 posted by Daniel Day

    I echo the previous comment; what an amazing piece of work. But it does beg a number of questions, the most burning being: Is there any accountability for The Thinking Schools Academy Trust? It starts to look as if they submitted a false prospectus for their winning School Expansion bid at Rochester Grammar,, and Governors show no responsibility in their cavalier introduction of the IB across the Sixth Form, destroying its heart and setting up long term financial problems. Perhaps it is just a side effect for the school but the ruthless and possibly mortal damage to Chatham Grammar is the height of irresponsibility. PETER: I can't disagree with any of this, but there is a simple answer to your question. It appears that the school has broken no financial rules and so the Regional Schools Commissioner, on whose Headteacher Panel, the previous head of RGS sat until she left the school in disgrace, will have no interest.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 08 December 2020 23:26 posted by Education Lecturer

    What an astonishing and original piece of research. Surely the basis for a Doctorate thesis for one who already has an M.A. in education. Please contact me. PETER: but not written for that purpose, rather primarily to inform potential Sixth Form students.

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