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Tuesday, 22 January 2013 18:51

Additional Places in West Kent: Judd, Skinners & now Tonbridge Grammar School

Both The Judd School, Tonbridge and Skinners School, Tunbridge Wells, have announced they are increasing their intakes by 30 places for entry in 2013, taking each of them to to five forms of entry, at the request of Kent County Council. You will find explanations for the two decisions on The Judd and Skinners School websites. KCC is planning to open its proposed Sevenoaks Annexe to accommodate four additional forms of grammar school entry (two girls & two boys) in September 2015, but this would stilll leave continued pressure on places for 2013  and 2014 entry. The above decision eases the problem for boys for 2013, and one can speculate it may well be extended to 2014.

Last year, there were major problems in West Kent, .....

when over 90 grammar school qualified boys were not offered a grammar school place on allocation day in March. Eventually nearly all were sorted out: through appeal panels, with Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys and Wilmington Boys' Grammar School being persuaded to admit an additional form of entry through  the Independent Appeal Panel; appeal panels at Judd and Skinners admitting additional boys; through waiting lists;  neighbouring grammar schools - Oakwood Park , Maidstone and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys; Knole Academy in Sevenoaks setting up an additional grammar school stream and for some boys taking up places in private schools, or looking to comprehensive schools across the county border into Surrey and East Sussex.  This week's decisions won't completely solve the problems if numbers are similar to  last year, for both the super selective schools will take some of their additional high scoring boys from across the county boundary, and outside the West Kent area in Kent, so I estimate they will admit some 40 local boys extra- see below. Also, both Tunbridge Wells and Wilmingotn Boys' Grammars made clear last year their decisions to encourage additional places on appeal was for one year only, so not expected to be repeated. The decsions by the two schools are entireldy sensible and logical, and will have pleasedthe local families who will benefit, the decision being made now as KCC will have calculated  the number of grammar qualified West Kent boys applying. It certainly makes far more sense to tackle the problem now, rather than wait until the unpredictable appeal process works through. Many families will now be busy speculating what this will do to the Judd and Skinners  cut off, but I still expect Judd to be 420 or higher with Skinners a little lower, but higher than last years 414, because of the change to the maximum score. See below. As I have explained elsewhere on this website, the issue for girls is less intense and I anticipate that, with the planned increase of 25 in numbers at Weald of Kent Grammar, (nearly) all qualified West Kent girls will be offered a local grammar school place rather than on appeal as has happened in previous years.

There is no doubt that Kent County Council remains politically committed to the Sevenoaks Annexe, and will be assuming the two schools reduce their intake again for 2015, although this may be a difficult position to hold. What Is certain is there will be less of a furore in West Kent on March 1st than last year, grammar school admission will be less contentious and many more parents and boys (but not all) can look forward with  confidence to a positive decision on that day. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 17:13

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