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Displaying items by tag: medway - Kent Independent Education Advice

 Last Updated September 2018

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 This page has a variety of information and links, including information on individual schools. 

Medway Council's Official section on the Medway Test is here

You will find details of the outcomes of the Medway Test in 2017 here

You will find information about individual Medway secondary schools here, including oversubscription and appeals data.  

For details of Review and appeal process, go to Review.

Medway children are selected for grammar school using different tests and a different process of selection to that operated in Kent; see below.

For children in most primary schools, they will take the Tests in their own school  with some schools arranging the tests for the following Saturday. Details of school by school arrangements can be found in the Medway Admission Brochure (awaiting updated version). Children from outside Medway and at Kings School, Rochester, will take the tests in independent test centres

 
Medway Test result and Review statistics for 2013 to 2018 entry are here.

Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new school at other times.

TIMETABLE

Key Action
Key Dates in Scheme
Opening Date for Registration for Medway Tests 9am Monday 4 June 2018
Closing Date for Registration for Medway Tests 5pm Monday 2 July 2018
Secondary school applications open
9am Monday 10 September 2018
Medway Test Date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school during the week Tuesday 18/ Wednesday 19 September 2018
Medway Test date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school on Saturday and those children from out of area and those Medway schools that have not opted to test in own school (will be tested in test centres). Saturday 22 September 2018
Parents informed of test results Monday 8 October 2018
Closing Date for review requests Monday 15 October 2018
Parents informed of review results posted by Tuesday 23 October 2018
Secondary School Applications Close 5 p.m. Wednesday 31 October 2018
For later dates go to here
 
For the 2016 Medway Test, the Council switched to new providers, CEM, which has a different perspective to the previous providers. I was very surprised to see the previous strong bias towards girls which I had anticipated would expand completely vanished! 
 
Children take three tests: verbal reasoning, mathematics and extended writing. The first two tests are multiple choice, the English is a single piece of extended writing, usually to an essay title, but it can be any Key Stage 2 theme. The scores on each test are standardised according to the scores of Medway children taking the tests, so that a score of 100 is allocated to the average child who took the test. Scores then range from 70 to 140.
The scores from the three tests are then added together in the following way: verbal reasoning score given a weighting of one, and the maths and English scores given a weighting of two, so for example:

EXAMPLE:

Test
Score
Weighted Score
Verbal Reasoning 110 110
Mathematics 98 196
Extended Writing 100 200
Total Score 506
 
The pass score is then determined to admit 23% of Medway children (those from out of Medway are found selective in the same way, but their scores do not influence the calculations).  In 2013 the pass score was 509 so this child would not have passed. The Medway test pass mark for entry for 2013 it was 509, for 2014 it was 528 for 2015, 525, for 2016 it was 521, for 2017 it was 513, for 2018 it was 495 and for 2019 it was 492. The wide variation in pass scores is NO indication of the difficulty of the tests. It is a result of what is called local standardisation and is strongly influenced by the proportion of Medway children taking the test which varies from year to year.
 
I am very critical of this pattern of scoring, as Extended Writing is the least reliable of all tests used for selection processes, according to NFER who are the country's leading experts in test setting. Because it receives a double weighting, the result dwarfs that of verbal reasoning, a good predictor of academic success according to NFER. As a result, a child can gain a pass on the strength of a single strong essay, or similarly lose a place because they have misunderstood the extended writing question. There is no minimum mark required in any test. For these reasons, different children will perform well in Kent and Medway and so it may well be worth taking both sets of entrance tests, to secure a grammar school assessment (although each is only accepted in the Authority in which it is taken, except that the two Chatham grammar schools accept a pass in the Kent Test).
 
For 2017 entry, Medway Council changed its Test provider to a company called CEM. As a result and, I don't understand why, the previous bias towards girls passing the test vanished, although more girls than boys took the test (1000 girls against 921 boys). Also the test no longer favoured older children, although 1094 older children from the first half of the school year took it, against 878 in the second half. 
 
THE REVIEW PROCESS
 
Where children have taken the Medway Test and been unsuccessful, parents have the right to request a review of the decision within the next week. Results will be out in time for you to complete your SCAF. Parents will need to think carefully about whether to apply for a Review, as if unsuccessful, you may find yourself barred from making an appeal on academic grounds and in any case, the Review documents are presented to the appeal panel. For more information see Medway grammar school Review and appeal.
 
Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new school at other times. You may wish also to consult the page on Review and Appeal. As well as the issue with the full application form now being presented by most schools to the appeal panel, Medway Council also makes available the results of the Kent Test if taken, which are also usually presented. 
 

Warning on Medway School Admissions

Schools are not allowed to know the position you have placed them on the Application Form when drawing up rankings of children to determine who is awarded a place. However, for 2014 entry the whole application form,including reasons for applying for a school was sent to Admission Authorities to be provided as evidence for appeal panels when considering appeals. I understand this practice will continue for 2015 admission and subsequently, although I regard it as a seriously retrograde step placing parents in an invidious position regarding their choice of schools. It is certainly wrong according to the spirit, if not the letter, of the mandatory School Admissions Code,that does not allow schools to know in which order the parents have placed them on the form for admission purposes.  However, I am told it is legal and other Authorities (not Kent) also use it when parents appeal for a school place in March, It is possible that some schools which are their own admission authorities (including academies) may choose not to present the information to Independent Appeal Panels, but for 2014 appeals nearly all did. If you are likely to have to appeal, you therefore now have to consider order of preference on the Common Application Form much  more carefully than in previous years, as the school and appeal panel will now see all your preferences and be entitled to ask the reason for them.

Further, there is a section for you to provide the reason for applying to each school separately on the Form.  This used to be confidential to the school applied for and continues to be so, unless you appeal, when as it is on the common application form it is shared with all schools you are appealing to. Obviously if you put down strong reasons for applying to one school it may reflect badly on you if appealing for another! My advice is therefore clear. Do not put any entry in this section, unless you are applying on health grounds (or similar) on which you consider your child needs to attend a particular school, in which case you would also need to provide medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Otherwise, reasons are completely ignored for allocating places in the admission procedure as they do not form part of the criteria or rules by which places are allocated.

 
Kent and Medway
Kent parents who apply for a Medway grammar school place and need to go to Review (see below) will only receive the outcome a few days before the Kent SCAF needs to be submitted. You cannot appeal for a Medway grammar school place unless it is named on the SCAF. 

The Schools

A grammar school assessment does not necessarily secure a place at the school of one's choice. There is further information about each school in the Individual Schools section of this website, including the historical pattern of applications and appeals. With three girls' grammars and two for boys, there is greater pressure on places for the latter.  
 
Chatham Grammar for Girls has taken all local children who have passed for many years so, if your daughter has passed the Medway test and  if the school is named on your application form above any non selective school you name, you can be confident you will offered a grammar school place if you live in Medway. They will also offer places to children who have passed the Kent Test or even if they have failed the Medway Test or not taken it, any other nationally recognised selection tests (unspecified). Even if your child has only taken the Kent Test and not passed, you have the right to appeal to Chatham girls. Historically the school does not take note of whether the girl has been to Review or not. 
 
Fort Pitt Grammar (girls) reduced its Planned Admission Number to 120 from 190 some years ago. It has now changed its oversubscription criteria to give priority to children living within two miles and then on the Hoo Peninsula together with Cuxton Winning an appeal has been difficult and the school appeal panel applied the rule about unsuccessful Reviews (see above). With steadily rising rolls in Medway there was oversubscription in 2016-2018 For details go to Individual Schools, Medway.  
 
Holcombe Grammar School  (previously Chatham Grammar Boys). The school will offer places to children who have passed the Kent Test or even if they have failed the Medway Test or not taken it, any other nationally recognised selection tests (unspecified) on the same basis as those who have passed the Medway Test. Even if your child has only taken the Kent Test and not passed, you have the right to appeal to Holcombe Grammar. Otherwise I have no idea of what policy the school will take on any matter after the 2018 appeals shambles. You will find my first article on this here, and the final one here
 
Rainham Mark Grammar School (mixed) until entry in 2017 awarded places on high scores, but for 2018 admissions onward, it has switched to awarding the large majority of places to those living closest. For 2018 there were 33 grammar qualified first choices turned away. It is difficult to win an appeal, with just 5 places being awarded in each of the recent years.
 
The Rochester Grammar School (girls) is regularly oversubscribed and initially takes primarily those girls with the highest scores. For 2014 nearly all girls who had passed and applied were offered a place, but for 2015 admission, the cut off rose sharply to 535, the pass score being  525, and even further for 2016, to 539, the pass score being 521. For 2017 cut off was 546 with pass score 513; and for 2018 it was 520, the pass score being 495.
Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School (boys) takes those boys who live nearest. Has increased PAN to 180 for 2018, but offered 203 places.  Always heavily oversubscribed with local boys, some on  the Hoo Peninsula not gaining places, except some on appeal. 
 
The Howard School (boys) is not a grammar school, being technically bilateral (two parts, one selective and one non-selective) but caters for grammar ability boys. The grammar section has now dwindled, and most boys in this part of the school were originally non-selective but passed an internal test after being accepted into the school. Admission to the grammar section is no longer dependent on the Medway Test. 
Last Updated June 2018

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This page is designed primarily for parents resident in Medway, whose children will be transferring to state secondary schools in September 2019. It should be read in conjunction with the pages on Medway Grammar School Admissions and Kent Secondary School Admissions.

There is more information, advice and comment on the School Admission Code page.

You will find the full Medway Co-Ordinated Admission Scheme for entry in September 2019 here.

Please note that for parents applying for any school in Medway outside the normal admission round, you will need to go through the In Year Admission process. For schools run by Medway Council applications need to be made through the Council. Most academies and Voluntary Aided schools manage their own late and in year admissions, in which case they are technically nothing to do with the Council. However, some of these still delegate the process to Medway Council. In my experience Medway Council does not appear to operate a systematic approach to such admissions, with varying advice, some of it breaking the Schools Admission Code. You will find further details here

News and Information Items relevant to Medway Secondary School Admission for September 2018 

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Medway Non-Selective Schools: Allocation March 2018

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Medway Grammar Schools: Allocation March 2018

Secondary School Allocation Statistics in Medway for September 2018: Initial Statistics

Secondary School Appeals

Medway Grammar School Review and Appeals

Movement in and out of Kent and Medway: Secondary Allocation March 2015 2018 data is included in the main pages via the links above

Information on Individual Medway Secondary Schools

 
You may also find an article I wrote for Kent on Sunday in September 2014 about secondary admissions helpful.
 
Statistics for 2010 to 2018, including Medway Test result and Review entry are here.

Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new school at other times.

TIMETABLE
 
Key Action
Key Dates in Scheme
Opening date for registration for Medway Tests 9am Monday 4 June 2018
Closing date for registration for Medway Tests 5pm Monday 2 July 2018
Secondary school applications open 9am Monday 10 September 2018
Medway Test Date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school during the week Tuesday 18/ Wednesday 19 September 2018
Medway Test date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school on Saturday and those children from out of area and those Medway schools that have not opted to test in own school (will be tested in test centres). Saturday 22 September 2018
Parents informed of test results Monday 8 October 2018
Closing Date for review requests Monday 16 October 2018
Parents informed of review results posted by Tuesday 23 October 2018
National Closing Date for Common Application Form (online and SCAF) 5pm Wednesday 31 October 2018
National Offer Day, offers posted or sent by email Friday 1 March 2019
Places must be accepted/refused and requests to go on a waiting list and appeals must be submitted By Friday 29 March 2019
Vacant places re-allocated by Medway Council Monday 23 April 2019 until Tuesday 31 December 2019

Whilst there are national closing and offer dates, each Local Authority operates slightly different processes for allocating pupils, for example Medway parents have six choices and Kent parents have four choices. The Medway secondary school admission prospectus (an essential item, available from Medway Council or your local primary school), or online here, when available, contains details of the all important oversubscription rules, which determine if you will be offered a place if too many people apply. Medway residents need to apply on the  Medway Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF), also listing any schools in Kent applied for. In the same way, residents of Kent and other Local Authorities should apply for Medway schools on their own Local Authority application form. 

GRAMMAR SCHOOL TESTING

It is essential that all parents, who are considering entering their child for the Medway or Kent tests, register their child on the appropriate form obtainable from the primary school or the LA. In Medway, you will find a copy of the form in the LA Prospectus “Admission to Secondary School”. Your child cannot take the Medway or Kent tests if he or she has not been registeredYou cannot be considered for a Medway grammar school if your child has not sat the  Medway tests, except in the case of the two Chatham Grammars - see following. There is nothing to lose by entering your child for both tests. For the two Chatham Grammar Schools, admission is via success in either Kent or Medway tests. Medway Grammar School applications are considered in more detail on a separate page.
 
THE REVIEW PROCESS
 
Where children have taken the Medway Test and been unsuccessful, parents have the right to request a review of the decision within the next week. Results will be out in time for you to complete your SCAF. Parents will need to think carefully about whether to apply for a Review, as if unsuccessful, you may find yourself barred from making an appeal on academic grounds and in any case, the Review documents are presented tot he appeal panel. For more information see Medway grammar school Review and appeal.
 
APPLICATIONS
 
Most Secondary School Open Days take place in the Autumn Term. Most Grammar schools hold Open Days after assessment results are sent out on 4th October. Details of these are published in the Medway Admissions Booklet.

Parents will then be able to select up to six schools in order on the Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF).   

Some scenarios:
 
 1) If the child has passed the Medway tests, you may name just grammar schools on your SCAF. Because there are falling numbers in Medway secondary schools, there are plenty of vacancies in the system, so naming all grammar schools for which your child is eligible ensures he or she will be allocated to one of these. 
 2) If your child has not taken the eleven plus, you can only be considered for non selective schools.
 3) If your child has taken the eleven plus and not passed, and you wish to appeal, you must name the grammar schools you wish to appeal to on the SCAF, together with any non selective schools you wish to apply to.
 4) If your child has passed the eleven plus and you name grammar schools and a non selective school, for example a church comprehensive school, you will be offered the highest school on your list for which your child is eligible. If this is the non selective school then you will be offered it in preference to a grammar school lower down your list.
5) Note if you finish up appealing see "Warning" below.
 
The process of identifying which one school your child will be offered on National Offer Day is called an Equal Preference Scheme and is quite complex to understand.
 
However:
 
You will not boost your chances at a school by placing it in a different order than your genuine preference. Sadly, some schools still verbally advise parents otherwise. No Kent or Medway school is told the position where parents have placed a school on the SCAF at allocation time, and so none can offer a place according to position.
 
Each school draws up a list of eligible applicants in terms of priority according to their oversubscription criteria. They are not told where you have listed them on the SCAF, so list schools exactly as you prefer them and don’t be swayed by any school telling you it gives priority to those who list them first. Your child will then be offered the highest preference school for which they are eligible. This means that some children could get their fourth choice ahead of others who listed it first if their claim is stronger. If your child does not qualify for any school on your SCAF, the LA will offer a place at the nearest Medway school it judges as appropriate, or sensible.

Warning on Medway School Admissions

Schools are not allowed to know the position you have placed them on the Application Form when drawing up rankings of children to determine who is awarded a place. However, for appeals the whole application form,including reasons for applying for a school is sent to schools being appealed for to be provided as evidence for appeal panels when considering appeals. I regard it as a seriously retrograde step placing parents in an invidious position regarding their choice of schools. It is certainly wrong according to the spirit, if not the letter, of the mandatory School Admissions Code,that does not allow schools to know in which order the parents have placed them on the form for admission purposes.  However, I am told it is legal and other Authorities (not Kent) also use it when parents appeal for a school place in March, It is possible that some schools which are their own admission authorities (including academies) may choose not to present the information to Independent Appeal Panels. If you are likely to have to appeal, you therefore have to consider order of preference on the Common Application Form much  more carefully than in previous years, as the school and appeal panel will now see all your preferences and be entitled to ask the reason for them.

Further, there is a section for you to provide the reason for applying to each school separately on the Form.  This used to be confidential to the school applied for and continues to be so, unless you appeal, when as it is on the common application form it is shared with all schools you are appealing to. Obviously if you put down strong reasons for applying to one school it may reflect badly on you if appealing for another! My advice is therefore clear. Do not put any entry in this section, unless you are applying on health grounds (or similar) on which you consider your child needs to attend a particular school, in which case you would also need to provide medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Otherwise, reasons are completely ignored for allocating places in the admission procedure as they do not form part of the criteria or rules by which places are allocated.

APPEALS

Your right to appeal is to a particular school, and so you must have applied for it on your SCAF. Medway & Kent parents have the right to apply for any additional school (including grammar schools) in April 2018, and if turned down to appeal. For Kent, you will need to use the In Year Admission process. For Medway, you probably need to go through the Council who also hold waiting lists for all the schools and  academies. The Medway process is often difficult and you may be initially told it is not possible. 
Grammar school appeals are likewise not against a non selective decision in general, but must be made for a named school. As a result, you must list any school you wish to appeal for on your SCAF. Sadly, you have to wait until National Offer day on 1st March before the school technically rejects your application and only then can you appeal.
This year the first appeals were heard in the last week of March (Medway tends to come first), the final ones not being heard until the middle of June.
 
GUIDANCE
 
It is difficult to give general guidance on placing schools in order, as circumstances change enormously from town to town depending on popularity of individual schools and their oversubscription rules. Above all, make sure that you and your child visit the schools you are considering.
  • For all oversubscribed schools find out if you would have been accepted last year. Ask for the distance from school the furthest pupil who was accepted lived. Many church schools admit children according to their level of church support. Find out which category of religious support was the lowest accepted.
  • Each Medway school and academy makes its own rules and you need to check these out carefully to find if you are likely to be offered a place.
  •  Check the rules about free school transport, which only apply if you live more than three miles from your nearest appropriate school, or for certain church schools (this is different from Kent where children only qualify if they live more than three miles from their nearest school without taking into account "appropriate". These rules are detailed in the School Admission Booklet for your LA. See the page on School Transport and Appeals. If applying for a grammar school, especially if you live on the Hoo Peninsula make sure you apply to the nearest grammar school somewhere on your list (even if you are unlikely to be offered a place there). If you are trying to secure free transport to one of the Chatham Grammar Schools you may need to appeal to the nearest (usually RGS or the Math, and be turned down to satisfy the Council that the Chatham Grammar is your nearest appropriate available. 
  • Try and make sure that you will be eligible for at least one school on your list, otherwise you will be allocated the nearest one with vacancies, which may not be to your liking.
  • Parents applying for secondary school places may be given a supplementary form “only where the additional information is required for the governing body to apply their oversubscription criteria to the application”. In Medway, this only applies to St John Fisher Catholic School. You are under no obligation to provide information which is not required for this purpose. No form should ask parents to state what preferences they have named on their SCAF, or the order in which they have stated their preferences, as no school requires this to apply its oversubscription criteria.
  • In Medway, 79% of children secured their first choice in March for entry in September 2018 (79% in 2017 & 84% in 2017). 
  • If not offered the school of your choice you can apply to go on the waiting list for any or all schools at which you have been turned down. Application forms sent with decision letter on 1st March. 
  • Both Kent and Medway have an on-line application system on which parents can change choices up to the closing date. Details of the Medway scheme can be found here. One concern for primary heads is that because they do not see these forms, they are unable to check if parents have made sensible decisions. Conversely, parents can hide decisions from the school, – valuable where certain primary schools strongly encourage certain applications. On-line applicants will be able to access decisions after 4 p.m. on 1st March. Paper applicants will receive decisions by post on 2nd March.
  • Most Medway secondary schools use nearness of homes to the school as measured by the nearest safe walking route determined by the Medway Council Geographical Information System. In a series of successful appeals in recent years, I have demonstrated that the application of this system can be flawed.
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