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Monday, 28 December 2015 00:00

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2015: Success Rates Fall

Success rates at admission appeals for Kent and Medway secondary schools have fallen significantly for 2015 for the second successive year, with chances of success at primary school appeals remaining extremely low, as can be seen from my previous article on 2014 appeals. You will find further historic data for Kent here, and for Medway here

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2015
2015 2014
Appeals Held Number % Upheld Number % Upheld
Kent Non-Selective 484 30% 335 33%
Kent Grammar 1587 37% 1667 42%
Medway Non-Selective 178 34% 122 24%
Medway Grammar 245 40% 226 47%
TOTAL SECONDARY 2494 35% 2350 40%
Kent Primary 292 0.7% 340 1.5%
Medway Primary  63  1.6% 65 0%

The secondary figures hide enormous differences between schools, and variations from year to year, key figures being given in the Individual School sections for Kent and Medway elsewhere om this website, as these are updated.

For grammar schools, numbers range from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar (Ramsgate) with 146 appeals (up from 102 last year) of which 33 were upheld, through to Cranbrook School, one appeal (6 last year) which was not upheld. For non-selective schools, highest were St George’s CofE in Broadstairs with 68 appeals (13 successful), and Brompton Academy in Medway with 58 appeals (7 successful), through to three schools with no successful appeals.

For Infant Schools where Infant Class Legislation applies (see below), there were 355 appeals heard across Kent and Medway by Local Authority Panels, with just 3 successful.

You will find further information and advice on school appeals here, with more data and explanation of the 2015 figures below…..

Independent Appeal Panels are organised by Kent County Council (independently of the Education Department), Medway Council (independently of the Education Department,  for primary schools only), four private organisations, and in some cases the schools themselves recruiting clerks and panels. Broadly, statistics show little numerical difference between outcomes of these different organisations.

My secondary school data is based on the outcomes of appeals from all of the 66 Kent and Medway secondary schools that held admission appeals for entry in September 2015. Please note that outcomes can vary widely from school to school and year to year with appeal panels looking for different qualities in appeals, and pressure on places varying, so that the 2015 outcomes are not necessarily a good guide to what happens in 2016.

Kent grammar schools
Just under half of all schools use a KCC Panel. Overall a 37% success rate. Some of the large year by year variations are difficult to predict, with highest percentage of success this year being Simon Langton Girls at 86%, up from 56% in 2014. Norton Knatchbull at 84% has been high for some years, as it looks to fill an additional class of entry it has put on. Dover Boys (78%) and Invicta (70%) are also very high year on year. All these appeals are heard by KCC Panels.

Weald of Kent has illustrated the unpredictability of forecasting when in 2014 a KCC Panel upheld 77% of the 69 appeals, possibly responding to the expectation of enlargement via the Sevenoaks annex. For 2015, when this looked in doubt, the school mounted a very strong defence to the Appeal Panel against letting any further girls in, on grounds there was no room, and just 9% of the 70 appeals were successful. For 2016 entry, the school is enlarging by two additional classes if there is demand, so I anticipate that success rate at appeal will once again be high.

Toughest area by far to win an appeal is Dartford, where the four grammar schools averaged 10% success at appeal, apart from Weald, the four lowest in the county, with very high numbers of appellants, largest being Wilmington Boys with 99. For Dartford Boys, just six appeals out of 70 were successful, with five of those having passed the Kent Test but, not being local losing out on grounds of scores not being high enough. I am pleased that the sixth was one of my clients.  I suspect the other three schools had a similar profile of success in terms of children who had passed the Kent Test. Tunbridge Wells proved the next most difficult area, with two schools, Skinners (5 successful appeals), and Tunbridge Wells Girls (7) seeing similar levels of success year on year, along with The Judd in Tonbridge (6). Tunbridge Wells Boys is especially difficult to predict, success often reflecting varying levels of pressure on places and was down to 28% success for its 58 appeals, from 43% in 2014. Other difficult schools this year were: Harvey (5 successes); Simon Langton Boys (5, all of whom had passed the Kent Test); Queen Elizabeth’s (7); Tonbridge Grammar (10); and Maidstone Grammar (12), all less than 20% success rates. All these five outcomes reflect a similar pattern to recent years. Most difficult of all is Cranbrook School, Kent’s only 13 plus entry school. Potential parents tend to be aware of the difficulty of success at appeal, so this year, the only appeal was unsuccessful. For 2014, just one out of six was upheld.

Kent Non-Selective Schools
There is enormous variation here from school to school and year to year, and again you may wish to consult my Individual School Section for an indication of the latest figures (if a page is not up to date, let me know and I will update it for you). Of the 65 non-selective schools just 24 held appeals, although another 17 which were full on allocation in March held no appeals. Many of the second group saw places become available after March as some of their offers were to children who were later awarded places at more preferred schools, but other schools have simply increased numbers to accommodate all who persevered in their applications through the waiting list, or by filing an appeal. Most extreme case is Westlands in Sittingbourne which was oversubscribed by 66 first choices in March for its 285 places, but admitted 301 children in September without having any appeals.

A total of 30% of all appeals that took place were upheld. Eight schools admitted all who appealed in 2015 and six in 2014, but only two did so in both years: Northfleet Technology College and St Simon Stock Catholic School. The other 2015 schools were: Aylesford (out of 5); Brockhill (out of 25); Longfield (21); Sandwich Technology (2); and St Anselms (3).

No appeals were upheld at: Wilmington Academy, out of 42 registered; King Ethelbert in Westgate out of 36 appeals (although 8 appellants from the 36 here were offered places on re-allocation before appeals were heard); or Wye Free School out of 23 appeals (again 8 offered on re-allocation before hearing).

Other tough schools to win an appeal were Bennett Memorial one out of 12 appeals heard being upheld (13 more being re-allocated places before the appeal); Leigh Academy, with two out of 48 successful; and Trinity Free School, with one out of 26 appeals heard upheld (8 offered places on re-allocation).

Medway Grammar Schools
The six Medway grammar schools all have different expectations for admission patterns, as explained elsewhere on this website, and also for appeals. 2015 outcomes range from 8% at Fort Pitt, which in the last two years has still left places vacant with very high expectations for successful appellants, through to Chatham Grammar Boys’ with a 67% success rate. Although 66% of appellants at Sir Joseph Williamson’s were successful, all but 2 of the successful appellants had passed the Medway Test and were appealing solely on oversubscription grounds.
Medway Non-Selective Schools
Just five Medway non-selective held appeals. Four, Brompton Academy, Strood, Thomas Aveling and the Howard had a total of 146 appeals between them with an average success rate of 24%, the fifth, Rainham School for Girls, putting all who appealed through for the second consecutive year, although do not assume this will happen again.
Primary Schools
Most primary school appeals are covered by what is called Infant Class Legislation. Where this applies, Independent Appeal Panels are in practice forbidden to uphold an appeal unless very exceptional circumstances apply. Nearly all primary school appeals are conducted by Kent County Council or Medway Council Appeal Panels who conduct the process according to those rules. In previous years, individual panels occasionally went against the rules, being persuaded by a very strong case, but this practice has now all but vanished, with just 3 out of 355 appeals being upheld. At least one, and probably each of the successes has occurred because of a mistake in the admission rules being applied, so a child was denied a place for technical reasons, rather than the parents having a strong case.

Where the planned admission number for the school is such that Infant Class Legislation does not apply or more probably for Junior Age Group classes, there were just 36 appeals heard in Kent, of which 22 were successful, with three of the six in Medway upheld.

I do not collect data for the small number of primary schools that arrange their appeals through organisations other than KCC or Medway Councils, and some of these will breach Infant Class Legislation, so you would check with the individual school to see what their practice is.  

Last modified on Saturday, 10 December 2016 05:30

1 comment

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 February 2019 18:57 posted by Jennifer Guy

    Hi - your web site is fascinating... Is there any data available that shows the destination of pupils from primary to secondary establishments, sorted by primary school?
    Thanks - Jennifer PETER: It is probably there somewhere, but not of direct interest to me, too many factors to take into account and not enough time. Sorry, you can try an FOI yourself and if successful I would be grateful for a look to see if I can draw conclusions.

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