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Friday, 19 March 2021 18:53

Oversubscription & Vacancies: Kent Grammar Schools 2021


Individual School Survey. 

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 2020 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 latest article on Coronavirus and Appeals is here, with links back to previous items. The equivalent 2020 page is here.     

The enormous popularity of the super-selective Dartford Grammar is driven by its easy access from SE London, but fell this year to 478 first choice applications for its 180 places, down from 551 last year. This is still 136 first preferences above the second-highest performer in Kent, Dartford Girls Grammar School. The admission criteria cut out large numbers of grammar qualified local boys who failed to achieve the ‘inner’ required aggregate score of 381 against a Kent Test pass level of 332, with its maximum of 421. For those outside the tight local area, the requirement is 401 or more, both bars being the highest ever, having risen year on year for at least five years.  82 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.  59 of these came from Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham. That very high number of 478 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 (2020 there were five successes out of 134 heard). This is echoed by the situation at Dartford Grammar Girls (see below

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 376 in 2020.

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 knock-on effect of all this pressure follows right along the Thames coast to Medway, where Holcombe and Rochester Grammar Grammar each offered 60 places to Kent and London families after giving first priority to local children.    

Wilmington Grammar Boys has given priority to local boys for several years but is often placed second to Dartford Grammar which partly explains why 107  of the 180 places went to lower choices and only  73 of 125 first choices were offered places, a similar pattern to last year. The school also gives a priority to siblings and siblings of pupils at Wilmington Girls, partly explaining why 22 ooc boys are still being offered places at the school, others arriving by Governors places awarded to the top 10% of candidates within a five-mile radius of the school. 

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 155 of the 160 first choices were offered places. 15 of the 26 ooc places went to boys from Thurrock, just a short distance from the school across the Thames by ferry, another seven from Medway. A fall in the number of local boys being successful in the Kent selection procedure saw qualified first choices fall and ooc number rise.

The pattern for the girls’ grammars is similar but less severe, Dartford Girls also chasing London pupils. Required aggregate scores have risen again, with local girls (from a wider area than the boys' school) being required to score at least 369 (down from 372 in 2020), with outers 396 (up from 393). There were 353 grammar qualified first choices of which 155 were offered places, second only to Dartford Grammar across Kent in terms of rejected first choices. In the last four years up to 2019 there were just five successful appeals, although there were seven in 2020.

Wilmington Girls also gives its main priority to local girls, although with 10% of places going to the highest scorers in the Kent test living within five miles of the school. There were 136 first choices for 180 places, of which 97 were offered places, very similar to last year. 48 of the 50 ooc girls were from Bexley, who will be a mixture of siblings and high scorers.

Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend admits girls through its own Test, as well as through the Kent Test, with 20 being offered places who did not pass the Kent Test, up from the 13 of 2020 (see Table below).  Further details here. There were 171 first choices, all of which were awarded places amongst the 210 offers. The number of places was increased by 30 from the previous year’s 180. Many of the additional places will have allowed a total of 25 ooc girls to be accommodated, nine from Bexley and seven from Greenwich, although some of these will have qualified as siblings.   

Next Individual Schools: West Kent

Last modified on Thursday, 22 April 2021 07:06


  • Comment Link Sunday, 04 April 2021 21:37 posted by K M

    Hi Peter, do you know how many vacancies Oakwood Park had last year (if any!) in comparison to the number of appeals they had upheld? PETER: As the article states, all this information is in my Individual Schools Section, via the link on the Right Hand Side of this page. The October 2020 schools census records that it was full in Year Seven.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 04 April 2021 19:50 posted by East Kent Primary Headteacher

    I was expecting a surge of interest in the media about this disgraceful outcome to the Kent Test, one that you predicted last June. Since then nothing. Does no one care? PETER: Much of the local media is overwhelmed with coronavirus stories, expecially with reduced staffing levels. However, there is also now limited education expertise, and little interest in stories such as this that are a bit more complex.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 31 March 2021 22:56 posted by Avi BM

    Thanks for the information Peter,
    Any reason why Gravesend is not covered ? Thanks,Avi. PETER: Try under North West Kent

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