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Displaying items by tag: Rochester Grammar School

A few years ago, The Rochester Grammar School was one of the most oversubscribed grammar schools across Kent and Medway, with a strong sixth form and proud of its Thinking Schools philosophy. It has been the only Medway or Kent grammar school to be awarded generous government funds of some £3 million in the past two years through the Grammar School Expansion Fund in spite of a large number of other local applicants. In order to secure this funding, used primarily to expand its numbers, the school completely changed its entry requirements to give priority to girls attracting Pupil Premium and local girls. You will find here a full analysis of the scheme I wrote two years ago, but which is still valid today, as the school appears not to have addressed the issues I identified. The school has scrapped A-levels completely in favour of the International Baccalaureate this year. 

RGS

Outcomes
The proportion of girls joining the school in Year Seven in the first year of the scheme, who attract Pupil Premium for the school, has fallen by over a third from 9.2% to 5.9%. This is completely contrary to the aim of the funding. Even though priority is now given to local girls, only 165 of the 253 places offered for September went to Medway girls, so the school is NOT oversubscribed, except for out of county pupils who take up the spare places.   
 
An even bigger shock is that only 46%, fewer than half of the school’s Year 11 girls in 2019-20, have stayed on into the Sixth Form this year, the second-lowest percentage of any grammar school in Kent and Medway. Even adding in students attracted from other schools, numbers have still plummeted from 87% in 2019 to 53%, with over 100 girls leaving to join the Sixth Forms of other local grammar schools.
Published in News and Comments

The Rochester Grammar School (RGS) is proposing a radical change to its admission rules from September 2020. This follows the government decision to award some £3 million to each of 16 grammar schools including RGS, to enable them to expand on  condition that these schools have plans  to improve access for pupils on Pupil Premium  and to undertake effective partnerships with local primary schools and non-selective secondary schools, to contribute to improved educational outcomes across the wider system.

.Rochester Grammar

The school, which is part of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), has gone out to Consultation to scrap its current academic super-selective status which sees the great majority of its pupils selected through high scores. It plans to become a school that gives admission priority to girls on Pupil Premium from 2020. Then, after several smaller categories (below) it will prioritise local children who have passed the Medway Test no matter what their scores. Given that the Trust runs two Medway grammar schools and has proposed identical admission criteria for both, except that the other school, Holcombe Grammar, is to give no priority whatever to Pupil Premium, so this does not appear a principled decision,  

I look at wider aspects of local implications of the grammar school expansions in a separate article

Published in News and Comments

The Schools Adjudicator, responsible for deciding on school admission policy disputes, has ruled that the determined admission arrangements for 2019 for these three schools are in breach of the Schools Admissions Code and ordered them to be changed. This will ensure that the new rules are fairer to local children or, in the case of The Rochester Grammar School, that more appropriately qualified girls are admitted.

Three other schools acknowledged the validity of my complaint at an early stage and withdrew their proposals. These were: Brompton Academy, Hundred of Hoo Academy and Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School.

Medway Council, with oversight of school admission rules published on its website, neither took action to block the unlawful proposals (if indeed they noticed them), nor bothered to express a view on their legality to the Schools Adjudicator when invited. There has been just one complaint about a Kent school's proposals since 2012 (relating to In-Year Admissions), as KCC monitors proposed changes. 

To look at the decisions in detail follow the links: Fort Pitt; Holcombe Grammar; The Rochester Grammar, with my analysis below.

Published in News and Comments
Update: Developments since the article was written are in blue in this introduction. 
The Rochester Grammar School (RGS) and Holcombe Grammar School who are part of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), together with Hundred of Hoo Academy from the Williamson Trust, have withdrawn the sections in their 2019 proposed Admission Criteria that gave priority for admission to children of staff members of any school in the Trust, rather than just of their own school which would have been lawful. Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School and The Thomas Aveling School have withdrawn all unlawful elements of their proposals. 

This follows my previous article which made clear the proposals were unlawful (together with an objection lodged with TSAT), which is likely to have led to the change of policy. 

However, RGS and Holcombe have retained a section offering priority to siblings of any child in a secondary academy of the Trust, rather than their own school which appears equally unlawful, as does Brompton Academy. 

Published in News and Comments

The Rochester Grammar School is proposing to make considerable  changes to its oversubscription criteria for entry in 2019, giving priority to girls who attend one of the Trust’s four local primary schools and those with siblings who attend one of the Trust’s three local secondary schools. 

These categories will now rank above the previous priority of high scorers irrespective of residence, and so will no doubt displace some of the high scoring out of county girls, 76  of whom were allocated places at the school last March, in a welcome change of direction supporting local children.

Rochester Grammar

This reflects the considerable change in attitude across most other oversubscribed Thames side grammar schools, with the two Wilmingtons', Gravesend Grammar and Rainham Mark Grammar all having tackled what they consider an excess of London children taking up places by different strategies.

It would also further undermine the Trust’s Holcombe Grammar proposal to change from a boys’ school to become co-educational for 2019.  This been under consideration for nearly a year by the Regional Schools Commissioner with no sign of a decision yet, hopefully to be turned down for the reasons I have set out in previous articles.

I am looking at proposed changes in admission criteria for other secondary schools across Kent and Medway, and will publish these in a separate article to follow. …

Published in News and Comments
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00

Chatham Grammar Schools and the Kent Test

The introduction of the Kent Test by the two Chatham grammar schools as an alternative assessment to the Medway Test has caused considerable confusion to Medway Council. Success in the Kent Test is now a recognised qualification for entry to the two schools, so children who have taken the Kent test but not passed have the right to put in a late application to the appropriate Chatham grammar school. They would then be turned down on grounds of non-qualification and can then appeal directly to the school. As there are still spaces at both schools, if parents can provide appropriate evidence that their children are of grammar school standard, they stand a good chance of winning an appeal and therefore a place.

However, Medway Council officials have failed to understand the rules......

Published in News Archive