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Monday, 13 April 2015 05:20

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Kent & Medway Grammar Schools: Allocation 2015

I now have the data for Kent and Medway grammar school allocations, made on the 2nd March 2015. You will find those for non-selective schools below. My next article on secondary school admissions will cover cross county border movement. Headlines are:

  • The four most popular Kent schools, Dartford Grammar, Dartford Grammar Girls, Skinners and Judd, are the same as last year, with Dartford turning away 127 first choices, in spite of having increased its intake by 30 boys.
  • The four Dartford Grammar Schools between them offered 294 places to out of county children, nearly all of them from the SE London boroughs.
  • Kent and Medway grammar schools increased their overall capacity by 258 places above 2014’s total, before appeals.
  • 13 of the 37 grammar schools have vacancies, 8 with more than 15 spaces, with a total of 406 empty desks in the county.
  • The higher pass rate in the Kent Test for girls has seen oversubscription levels rise at all 10 of the 13 girls’ grammars that are full leaving just three with vacancies.
  • Rainham Mark Grammar in Medway has seen a surge in popularity at the expense of Sir Joseph Williamson’s, and is the most oversubscribed grammar even after increasing its admission number by 30 to 204.

More details below:.....

 All figures relate to children who passed the Kent Test, apart from the Dover and Shepway grammar schools together with Mayfield Grammar, which operate their own tests as an additional way of gaining entrance.
The following table shows the number of grammar school qualified first choices turned away for each school.
Kent & Medway Grammar Schools Oversubscription
2015 2014
School Number School Number
Dartford 127 Dartford 146
Dartford Girls 95 Skinners 94
Skinners 95 Dartford Girls 89
Judd 79 Sir Joseph Williamson's 58
Tonbridge 77 Judd 53
Maidstone 49 Maidstone 52
Weald of Kent 29 Simon Langton Boys 45
Tunbridge Wells Girls 27 Tonbridge 44
Rainham Mark 29 Rainham Mark 37
Rochester 24 Sir Roger Manwood's 29
Sir Joseph Williamson's 23 Wilmington Boys 28
Wilmington Boys 21 Wilmington Girls 20

You will find the comparable information for 2014 here. A further article on cross county movement will follow as time permits.

For the grammars not mentioned in this article, you will find further details of oversubscription levels and vacancies in the Kent Secondary Schools section of this website when I have entered them. This may take a few weeks.

Some individual schools

Dartford Grammar: Increased its intake by 30 to 180 but still only had a slight dip in disappointed first choices. It also changed its oversubscription criteria by shrinking the priority area for local children who qualified on a straight pass, and limiting the number of children who qualified in this way to 90. The effects of this decision are quite stark. The number of Kent children to be offered places has fallen from 122 to 110, whereas the number of high scoring out of county children, predominantly from SE London, has shot up from 28 to 70. You will find my comments about the Schools’ Adjudicator decision following complaints about this change, here.

Dartford Grammar Girls: Also changed its criteria to give more priority to high scorers irrespective of address, seeing the number of out of county girls offered places more than double to 40 out of 160.

Wilmington Grammar Schools: both the boys and girls schools changed oversubscription rules to give greater priority to local Kent children, which has produced a small increase in Kent numbers at both, whilst the girls’ grammar has increased its intake by 30 girls to 150, most of the increase being from London Boroughs.

Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend has struggled to attract girls in recent years, and introduced its own test for 2015 entry, to boost numbers. As this has coincided with a surge in popularity, it is now oversubscribed, although it only took 11 girls through the Mayfield Test.

The six West Kent grammars are  all full, with the three girls’ schools all increasing sharply in popularity, as did Judd. Far fewer out of county offers than NW Kent at just 113 in total, with Tunbridge Wells Girls’ offering none. This figure will fall further next year, as Judd moves to give priority to West Kent residence for most boys.

The Dover and Shepway Tests see a large number of children gain entrance to the four grammar schools by the local test alone. Only The Harvey Grammar of the four admits a majority of its intake through the Kent Test, with the other three all around a third. Folkestone School for Girls, with an increased intake of 180, is admitting 118 girls who have not passed the Kent Test, but parents of the children who gain a grammar school place by this route will be very happy.

In Canterbury, Barton Court Grammar is increasing in popularity year on year with a surge in first choices to 121, also offering an additional 22 places bringing its total to 150. This is mainly at the expense of Simon Langton Girls, although Langton Boys’ popularity is also shrinking.

Grammar schools that have increased their Planned Admission Number are: Barton Court (22); Borden (30); Chatham & Clarendon (9); Dartford (30); Dover Girls (10); Gravesend (24); Highworth Girls (8); Rainham Mark (30); Rochester (30); Sir Roger Manwood’s (30); Skinners’ (5); and Wilmington Girls (30). Some of these have increased numbers, not necessarily because of popularity, but in order to encourage appeals. Schools approach the appeal process with very different expectations, according to policy including pressure on places or conversely the wish to expand. The Planned Admission number is not necessarily a guide to the number of appeals that will be successful.

Grammar schools with more than 15 vacancies before appeal are: Borden (boys, Sittingbourne); Chatham & Clarendon (mixed, Ramsgate); Chatham Boys; Chatham Girls; Highsted (girls, Sittingbourne); Norton Knatchbull (boys, Ashford); Oakwood Park (boys,Maidstone); Simon Langton Girls (Canterbury).

The other schools with vacancies are: Barton Court (mixed, Canterbury); Fort Pitt (girls, Chatham); Gravesend (boys); Maidstone Girls; and Sir Roger Manwood's (mixed, Sandwich).

Last modified on Monday, 13 April 2015 19:52


  • Comment Link Monday, 18 April 2016 11:53 posted by Angela Nwankwo

    Please I am trying to get my son into a grammar school In Kent.

    1) Please can you kindly email the top 5 grammar schools I Kent(mixed or boys only).

    2) Also is there a general 11+ or other named test in Kent or do schools each have their specific tests.

    3) What is the process fro registering my son to take the test(s) PETER: 1) As you will see from my website I only comment on matters from Kent or Medway parents, which you clearly are not. 2) There is no such thing as a list of top grammar schools. What there are are best grammar schools for your son 3) If you trouble to read this website you will find out the answers to these questions. NOTE: I receive far too many such enquiries, but thought I would reply to this one to illustrate the problem.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 30 April 2015 00:09 posted by isabelle norton

    Just wanted to thank Peter for this very useful analysis. Thanks to it we managed to get my son a grammar school place, when we thought all was lost. PETER: My pleasure.Congratulations

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