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Saturday, 26 May 2012 02:14

Boys Grammar School Places in West & North West Kent

STOP PRESS: The Independent Appeals Panel at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys has awarded an additional 32 places on appeal, after the headteacher indicated that the school was able, exceptionally, to cater for an additional 30 boys this year, if allocated by the Panel.  Well done to all those who have won their appeals, but of course there are nearly 60 who were unsuccessful. We know that many of these are of grammar school ability as there were 61 on the waiting list just before the appeals. 

Even before most appeals are heard, there are signs that up to 90 additional grammar school places are being freed up for boys in West & North West Kent, easing pressures on the many boys who have passed the Kent Test but currently do not hold a grammar school place. Both Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys and Wilmington  Grammar School for Boys are indicating to Appeal Panels that they are able to admit an additional class of entry (30 boys each),  as large year groups passing through the schools free up additional space lower down, for one year only. An appeal panel would have difficulty in not offering this number of places as the school has indicated there is room.  A few additional places will also be freed up .........

 with boys moving to Judd  School after their appeal decisions are announced this week. Skinners and Dartford Grammar School appeals will be too late to have an effect at this stage. Gravesend Grammar School is also expanding, having offered places to most boys on its waiting list before appeals. None of this of course resolves all problems, with TWGSB having 61 boys who have passed the 11 plus on the waiting list, suggesting that many of these who have appealed will still not be offered places on appeal. Wilmington has some  70 appeals, but these will not all go to Kent boys, as many are likely to be from the London Boroughs. Oakwood Park Grammar in Maidstone, has also taken in some Sevenoaks boys and has room for others. 

Parents and boys anxiously waiting appeals and their decisions may not think this, but spare a thought for the volunteer appeal panellists, who will be forced to choose between many excellent cases arguing that their sons deserve a grammar school place. Panellists are given no guidance as to how to choose which appeals to uphold, but will have been trained in how to go about the decision making. 

There is also of course the additional group of boys who did not pass the Kent Test but have powerful extenuating circumstances and evidence of grammar school ability, who are also in the mix. Appeal panellists will not lose these if their case is sufficiently compelling. All in all, a challenging time ahead for the independent appeal panellists.  

For each of these schools, once appeals are heard it is unlikely that additional boys will be admitted on the waiting list, as the rules state this should not happen until the number of places offered falls back to the Planned Admission Number. However, we now have new Codes of Practice for Admissions and Appeals which have relaxed many situations, and most of these schools are academies. In this climate, schools are much more likely to be a rule unto themselves, and to operate to suit their own situations. 

Last modified on Saturday, 25 February 2017 22:32

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