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Tuesday, 08 December 2020 06:23

Sixth Form Courses in Kent and Medway Schools


Grammar Schools
Each of the 37 Kent and Medway grammar schools has developed its own character, reflected in admission criteria, academic performance and expectations, popularity, curriculum and ethos, and geography, several of these determining which grammar schools are accessible to individual students. Realistically, many potential students will find just the one, so there is no need to read on, although 30 grammar schools admitted over 20 external students this year. I quote several examples of the multitude of individual entrance requirements below. 

I have long maintained that one of the justifications for the selective system is that grammar schools offer opportunities for late developing students in N/S schools to be able to transfer across, realistically into the 6th form. There is an average of some 25 N/S joining each grammar school, surely a healthy 15%, although 7 schools admitted less than 10, headed up by Sir Roger Manwood's and Highsted with two and three respectively. My survey placed N/S and private schools in one category but, in practice, no school identified five or more students from any one private school joining a grammar.

The table below identifies the eight grammar schools with the highest proportion of external students joining them. As noted above, each has their own story to tell, as described in the District summaries, one of the key elements being the GCSE requirements for entry. Of the fifteen grammar schools with the lowest staying on rates into the Sixth Form, no more than 71% of Year 11 choosing or being qualified to remain, thirteen are girls only, along with Barton Court, mixed throughout. All but five Kent and Medway grammars are single-sex up to GCSE, but most become mixed in the Sixth Form. The three schools at the head of the table are:

Simon Langton Boys Grammar which runs what is often called a mushroom 6th Form expanding to well over its Planned Admission Number (PAN), amongst its entry requirements being a GCSE points score of 42. Over half of the 86 students from other grammar schools come from the two in Canterbury, Simon Langton Girls and Barton Court. Then the school draws from reasonably neighbouring towns: Dover Girls 14, Folkestone Girls 10, Dover Boys 7, and Norton Knatchbull 7. There are six students from the private St Edmund’s School and ten each from N/S Archbishop’s and Canterbury Academy (but see Canterbury Academy below).

Dartford Grammar on the edge of the London boroughs is unique amongst the four local schools that run the International Baccalaureate for all 6th Form students, in that it also attracts a mushroom 6th Form. It has a high bar for admission: Admission to the Sixth Form will be as a result of applicants (girls or boys) obtaining a minimum point score of 52 for their best 8 subjects (calculated using the DfE equivalence tables – see website). Students should have level 5 or above in English and Mathematics. They should have at least a 7 in their proposed International Baccalaureate Diploma Higher-Level subjects. If Mathematics is proposed at Higher Level, the GCSE Mathematics grade must be 8. The school has a 6th Form PAN of 300 but comfortably overshot this for 2020 entry, with 334 students in Year 12.  Like several other boys’ grammars, it recruits from the town’s girls equivalent school with 22 students from Dartford Girls. Other grammar school recruits include Rochester 15, Bexley 14, Wilmington Girls 13, Townley 11, Gravesend 7, and  Mayfield 6. From N/S schools there were 5 from Leigh Academy, 16 from Bexley Catholic schools and at least 10 from Greenwich schools.

Holcombe Grammar in Medway, third on the list, reveals a very different picture as it has in the past struggled to attract and hold higher performing pupils as explained here and elsewhere. This year, under a new headteacher who is clearly setting out to change the culture, Year 12 numbers have leapt from 87 in 2019, to 168. Two-thirds of the 78 students from other schools have arrived from grammars, possibly not having achieved higher entrance grades there, although the 12 from Rochester Grammar (RGS) are part of the fall out from that school, below.  Another eight are from Chatham Grammar and eight from Rainham Mark. It has only published its Sixth Form entry requirement required by law, since I challenged the school about its failure to do so last month, and has already passed through at least three variations since, including add-ons, in its panic. Its general requirement is for 'at least five grades at Level 9-5 including English and Mathematics; in addition to the subject specific requirements listed on the enclosed sheet within this pack'.

Other grammar schools are looked at in local areas below.

I made reference in my introduction to what I believe is the illegality of some grammar school admission policies as they operate a system of conditional offers based on projected GCSE grades, not allowed for in the School Admissions Code of Practice. You will find further details here, amongst other places on this site. 

Grammar Schools with over a third of their Sixth Form from other schools
  Year 12
Year 12
Grammar 1 Grammar 2 Non-Selec 1
Simon Langton
Simon L
Girls 29
Court 17
Dartford 334 181 54%
G 22
Leigh 5
Holcombe 168 78 46%
Chatham 8 26 in total
Chatham &
254 111 44%
Dane Court
St George's 
Dartford Girls 179 73 41% Mayfield 5
G 5
Leigh 6
Judd 230 93 40%
Weald 9
St Leonard's
Fort Pitt
8 others
in total
St John
Fisher 17
Oakwood Park 174 59 34%
G  20
Invicta 11 Aylesford 5

Notes: The abbreviation G stands for Girls, L stands for Langton. 5 is used because schools, in general, do not disclose figures less than 5.

The next page looks at Movement between and from Non-Selective Schools in the Sixth Form

Last modified on Saturday, 20 November 2021 20:16


  • 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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