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Monday, 24 October 2016 07:42

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2016

Each year, I collect Appeal data for every secondary school in Kent and Medway that has Admission Appeals for Year 7 entry, and for those primary schools whose appeals are organised by the two Local Authorities. My thanks to all the schools that have co-operated so fully and willingly. I now have the data for every secondary school that held appeals. 

Success rates at admission appeals for Kent and Medway grammar schools have fallen to 34% for 2016, a drop for the third successive year, but for non-selectives, up at 38%, with chances of success at primary school appeals remaining very low.

If you are qualified for grammar school, or if you wish to be considered form a non-selective school, it is important to put your name down on the waiting list for all schools for which you wish to be considered with well over 200 children being offered places by this route (it is impossible to be precise). 

chatham clarendon                     St Georges 3

For grammar schools, numbers range from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar (Ramsgate) with 118 appeals (down from 146 last year) of which 47 were upheld, and Wilmington Boys, 114 with just six upheld, through to Cranbrook School with no appeals and Dover Grammar Boys 16 with 7 upheld. In Medway Rochester Grammar had three successful appeals out of 43, and Fort Pitt four out of 41. For non-selective schools, highest were St George’s CofE, Gravesend with 57 appeals (27 last year) with just three successful, and St George’s Foundation, Broadstairs with 50 (74 last year) with 30 successful. These were also the two most popular schools in Kent measured by oversubscription levels. Also amongst the oversubscribed secondary schools, Ursuline College had 11 appeals of which none were successful.

For Infant Schools where Infant Class Legislation applies (see below), there were 317 appeals heard across Kent and Medway by Local Authority Panels, with 13 successful.

You will find further information and advice on school appeals here, with more data and explanation of the 2016 figures below. For comparison you will find the 2015 article here. .....


There is fuller data for each secondary schools in the Individual Schools section for Kent and Medway, although some pages are still not up to date. If you are interested in one of these pages, please let me know and I will revise it. You will find further general historic data for Kent here, and for Medway here

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2016
2016 2015 2014
Appeals Held Number   % Upheld Number % Upheld Number % Upheld
Kent Non-Selective 509  35% 484 30% 335 33%
Kent Grammar  1756  34% 1587 37% 1667 42%
Medway Non-Selective  154 44% 178 34% 122 24%
Medway Grammar  300  31% 245 40% 226 47%
TOTAL SECONDARY  2575  36% 2494 35% 2350 40%
Kent Primary (Breach)  248  5% 292 0.7% 340 1.5%
Kent Primary (Non-Breach) 46 61% 24 58% 30 63%
Medway Primary (Breach) 69  1.4%  63  1.6% 65 0%

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 63 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 2016 outcomes are not necessarily a good guide to what will happen in 2017.

Kent Grammar Schools
Just under half of all schools use a KCC Panel. Overall a 35% success rate. Some of the larger year by year variations are difficult to predict, with highest percentage of success this year being Tunbridge Wells Boys at 88%, up from 57 in 2015. Oakwood Park at 75% has been high for some years.

Other high percentages this year are: Highsted (67%), Simon Langton Girls (66%), and Mayfield (65%).

Last year I illustrated the unpredictability of forecasting with the example of Weald of Kent 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 with the Annexe certain, the percentage rose to 27%.

Toughest area by far to win an appeal is Dartford, where three grammar schools averaged 5% success at appeal, with the fourth Wilmington Girls, not far behind at 15%. Very high numbers of appellants, largest being Wilmington Boys with 114 followed by Dartford Grammar (108), just six appeals being successful at both. Dartford Girls had just 3 successes out of 81. At Dartford in 2015, five of the 6 successful appellants had passed the Kent Test but, not being local lost out on grounds of scores not being high enough (I am pleased that the sixth was one of my clients).  I suspect the profiles were similar this year but don’t have details.

West Kent is the next most difficult area apart from the two schools mentioned above. Skinners had 7 successful appeals out of 51, but in what appears to be a complete one off: 3 of these were All very high scores, but failed one paper.’  8 appellants were offered places during the re-allocation process.  Judd saw just 2 successes from 39 appeals, both from the 38 who had passed. Six of the 25 appeals at Tunbridge Wells Girls were successful including two of the three who had passed. For Tonbridge Grammar there were 8 passes, including 6 who had passed. Please note that those who were successful at these schools, but had not passed the Kent Test will have had exceptional cases. Tunbridge Wells Boys is especially difficult to predict, success often reflecting varying levels of pressure on places and was down to 28% success in 2015 for its 58 appeals, from 43% in 2014.

The other most difficult school this year was Gravesend Grammar, where there were initially no places offered for any of the 61 who had appealed. This was in spite of 28 who were initially non-selective being found to be of grammar school ability, which must have been especially frustrating. Eventually 7 of the grammar assessed boys were offered places off the waiting list, and another 6 after the school admission number was increased to accommodate them.  

Others were: Simon Langton Boys (8 appeals upheld, all of whom had passed the Kent Test, out of 39); Sir Roger Manwoods (10 out of 40); Dane Court (15 out of 54); and Maidstone Grammar (15 out of 53), all less than 30% 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 67 non-selective schools just 20 held appeals, although another 13 which were full on allocation in March had no need to hold 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 others have simply increased numbers to accommodate all who persevered in their applications through the waiting list, or by filing an appeal.

A total of 41% of all appeals that took place were upheld,up from 30% in 2015. Five schools admitted all who appealed in 2016, eight in 2015 and six in 2014, but only one did so in all three years: Northfleet Technology College. The other 2016 schools were: Canterbury High (11); Longfield (3); St Anselms (3) Trinity Free (11).

No appeals were upheld at: Wye School (14, none out of 15 in 2015); Ursuline College (11); Wrotham (4); Wilmington Academy (out of 2, but 45 last year); or the single appeals heard at St Simon Stock Catholic, or John Wallis CofE.

Other tough schools to win an appeal at were St George’s CofE, Gravesend (three out of 57 successful); Brockhill Park and King Ethelbert (one out of 12); Herne Bay High (three out of 11); Leigh Academy (2 out of 11, 2 out of 46 in 2015), and Bennett Memorial, one out of eight. 

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. 2016 outcomes start at just three out of 40 successes at Rochester Grammar, all from the 19 appellants who had passed (last year there were 6 successes). There was a similar pattern at Fort Pitt, where four out of 41 appeals were upheld, all from the 20 who had passed the Medway Test (three last year).

Rainham Mark is also difficult for winning appeals, this year there were five out of 33, all from the 12 wo had passed the Medway Test.

Sir Joseph Williamson’s swings considerably from year to year, for 2016, there were 16 successes out of 42, including 9 out of the 27 who had already passed (for 2015, all but 3 of the 23 who were successful out of 35 appeals, having been previously successful in the Medway Test). Chatham Girls saw 30 out of 66 appeals succeeding, with Chatham Boys highest proportion at 63% with 24 successful appeals out of 38.

Medway Non-Selective Schools

I now have all schools but Thomas Aveling at present, which saw 7 out of 33 appeals successful. Most difficult school by far was Brompton Academy, following its great popularity once more, with just four out of 31 appeals upheld, although it did create an additional class before this from 30 children off the waiting list, emphasising the importance  of putting your name down on this list. At Rainham School for Girls, all 28 appeals were upheld at the Group stage before moving on to individual hearings. The Howard saw 11 out of 15 appeals upheld. 
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. The large majority of 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 had all but vanished, with just 3 out of 355 appeals being upheld in Kent last year, although the figure has surprisingly risen to 12 for 2016. In Medway there was just one success out of 69. Often success occurs 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 14 appeals were upheld out of 37 in Kent.

Where there are Junior Schools, appeals can often take place at the point of transfer, with four out of eleven successful in Kent, and all six in Medway.

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 can breach Infant Class Legislation, so you should check with the individual school to see what their practice is.  

Last modified on Friday, 16 June 2017 05:03


  • Comment Link Wednesday, 02 November 2016 17:16 posted by Phil

    Reading your appeal guidelines it is not clear to me how an appeal can be made if the school is oversubscribed. Do you assume that they have incorrectly allocated a place to a pupil who should have been behind in the queue so to speak based on admission policies? Doesn't this mean that everyone could appeal on the off chance there has been a mistake? You say appeals will be heard but if the school is genuinely full then they cannot take on any more pupils. But surely if the school is oversubscribed then that is what it is saying.. or do schools hold back places assuming it will be filled up on appeal. If so what benefit is this to the school? Yours, confused! PETER: The key decision that has to be made according to the rules is the balance between the case for the child to be admitted to the school against the prejudice to other children that would (or could) be caused if the child were admitted. The more complex answer is that this is interpreted by schools in many different ways when presenting cases to the Appeal Panels to suit their individual agendas. This is why the information above and on my Individual Schools pages, which gives a history of recent outcomes is so important, although available nowhere else.It comes with a health warning that history is only a guide, and circumstances, or the stance of appeal panels can change from year to year.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 01 November 2016 12:33 posted by Louise

    Do you know how many appeals were successful last year for Folkestone Girls School? My daughter passed the Shepway test (2016) but we are metres outside the Shepway district. PETER: All but four girls who passed either Test in 2015 were initially accepted. As 14 out of 26 whose appeals were heard were successful at Appeal and none of these were grammar qualified, the four girls were either offered places off the waiting list before appeals were heard, or else found a place in another school they preferred. I would have some confidence you will be offered a place in March. If not hang on in and you will either get one off the waiting list, or else, I am confident, will win an appeal.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 26 October 2016 18:41 posted by Midge

    What are the chances of success for an appeal at Highworth Grammar School? PETER: I have no idea. It depends on the strength of your case. However, 21 out of 46 appeals were successful last year.

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