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Friday, 22 June 2012 07:48

Secondary School Appeals and vacant spaces in Kent & Medway

The main secondary school appeals are now ended, although places are still being freed up, mainly in non-selective schools through movement in waiting lists. This article is an overview of the latest situation across Kent and Medway, although I am happy to be corrected on details or to add in additional items. In particular,  information on non-selective school situations would be helpful.

 For grammar schools, the main pressure area has been West & North West Kent for boys,   with Tunbridge Wells Grammar school for Boys having 89 appeals, and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys having around 70. As a result Kent County Council came under considerable pressure  from families whose sons had passed the 11+, but had no grammar school place. In the event,  nearly all of these boys have been offered places off waiting lists or at appeals, with TWGSB taking 32 at appeal, Wilmington over 30,  Gravesend Grammar taking in nearly all who had passed without the need to go to appeal. 

Oakwood Park in Maidstone has also taken up a number of these and, after appeals, now has 164 places allocated, leaving its additional form of entry only part filled. As a result, this OFSTED ‘Outstanding school’  is surprisingly still welcoming applications from anyone who has passed and should be able to offer the vacant places without appeal.   I believe that otherwise all these schools are now full, along with Skinners, Judd, Dartford Grammar Boys and Maidstone Grammar. Interestingly, admission authorities can accept a second appeal .......“because of a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent or child”.  For example, if your child comes up with two Level 5s in the recent SATs it may be worthwhile  asking  a grammar school with vacancies if it will consider a second appeal (it has an absolute right to say no). ......... 

 Pressures on girls’ grammar schools have been far less, with Weald of Kent offering places to all girls on the waiting list in the selective area of West Kent, and indicating to the appeal panel that it was willing to admit a further 30 suitable girls on appeal. Wilmington Girls Grammar probably filled on appeal, but I believe there are likely to be spaces at Mayfield Grammar in Gravesend. Tonbridge Grammar, TWGGS, and Dartford Grammar are all full.

 Elsewhere in Kent,  there are still likely to be places at Harvey (boys) and Folkestone School for Girls in Folkestone, Barton Court (mixed) in Canterbury, and both schools in the Ramsgate Federation – Clarendon House and Chatham House.  The Federation has recently announced it is losing its Executive Head, David Smart, after just three years in Ramsgate, who is retiring after holding four headships in 14 years. You can see where the greatest pressures are from the oversubscrition list I published in March

 Two grammar schools in Medway, Chatham Boys and Chatham Girls, are still accepting late applicants and if, for example, you live in Kent and are without a grammar school place, you are able to enter your child late for the Medway Test.

 For non-selective schools I published a list of the most popular  non-selective schools in the county back in March. There has since been enormous movement in some areas such as Sittingbourne, where Westlands School has taken nearly all children on its waiting list, which will have had a serious effect on numbers at Isle of Sheppey Academy. The same has happened at Hayesbrook Boys in Tonbridge, likely losers Skinners Kent Academy. Across the county, successful appeals at grammar schools and more popular non selective schools will have left some schools really struggling for numbers, as we move to a situation where schools look more and more to their own interests. I seriously wonder how some of these schools can remain viable - several academies appear to be surviving solely on the additional funds they are attracting, but this surely cannot last.  Other schools who may have more than half their places unfilled in September include: Angley School in Cranbrook;  Chaucer Technology College in Canterbury; Dover Christ Church Academy;  Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate; New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone; Pent Valley Technology College in Folkestone; Walmer Science College.

Medway is still in the grip of sharply falling rolls at secondary level, with over half of the non-selective schools having vacancies back in March; their position will have worsened since then following movement through waiting lists and appeals to grammar and other more popular schools. Here, Bishop of Rochester Academy and St John Fisher RC School look most vulnerable.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 17:04


  • Comment Link Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:30 posted by megan


    Is there anyway to find out what scores the children who where given places on appeal received in The Judd School and Tonbridge Girls Grammar.
    Thanks. PETER: No this is confidential information. Whilst most will be clustered just below the cut off point for admissions, there may be one or two who have exceptional reasons for underperfomance. I have come across and supported both this year.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:23 posted by Jane kersting

    Hi my son got 3 x high 5's in Sats. Who do I make my
    Request to , the grammar school or the admission
    Authority?. PETER: The school admission authority can decide if it wishes to award a fresh appeal and if this is new and compelling evidence. I cannot see this happening unless there are vacancies at the school, and your son's original appeal case was strong. The admission authority may be the school or the Local Authority, depending on which school it is (All academies, Foundation Schools and Voluntary Aided Schools are their own admisison authorities)If you did not appeal in the first case, you still of course have the right to do so, to the Admission Authority. Unfortunately, you do not provide his Kent Test score, nor where you live or which school you are looking at, so I cannot speculate on whether this is worthwhile.

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