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Displaying items by tag: Medway Test

I sent a copy of this article through to the Medway Messenger, as I consider there are important messages in it, along with unique information valuable to Medway residents. So far no interest. 
There are six grammar schools in Medway all now offering most places on distance. The headlines are that: two girls’ grammars have vacancies on allocation with none for boys, overall 18% of grammar places go to children living outside Medway, and Rainham Mark Grammar is the most oversubscribed of the six for the first time, turning away 50 grammar qualified first choices.

It is no secret that I believe the Medway grammar school selection process is not fit for purpose. The Medway Test itself is unfair, and is biased towards girls, followed by a shocking Review process that identified fewer than nine additional children against a target of 72 this year. This contributed to a surplus of places on allocation allowing 18% of offers to be made to children from outside Medway. Boys are discriminated against further if they do not pass the Test, last year being typical with not one being successful at appeal. Meanwhile, 38 girls had appeals upheld at Chatham Grammar. Elsewhere there were just two other successful appeals last year for children who had not been found selective by the Medway Test out of a total of 99. Both were girls. Overall there are 505 places in girls’ grammar schools, with just 385 for the boys, a massive discrepancy surely inviting a legal challenge on grounds of discrimination. But, as I observe regularly, no one seems to care about all of this!  

Parents have a legal right to make a late application to any school, but Medway Council sets out unlawfully to make this very difficult especially for grammar school applicants. You will find the situation described and my advice here as to a way through. 

After the next section, I look at each of the six grammar schools in more detail: Chatham Grammar, Fort Pitt Grammar, Holcombe Grammar, Rainham Mark Grammar, Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, and The Rochester Grammar School (including the strange case of the £3 million grant awarded for an expansion that never happened). 

Published in News and Comments

Update July 2022: Medway Grammar Co-Ed Plans Update: Mainly More False Claims. 

One of the great disappointments of my 15 years of campaigning about the many deficiencies and incompetences of Medway Council is that I have completely failed to achieve any progress in seeing the Medway grammar school selection process made fit for purpose. This was the subject of one of my earliest articles in 2009 and continued through to the latest on 2022 admissions. I did however stop a wholly unnecessary increase in girls’ grammar school places by the Thinking Schools Academies Trust at the expense of the shrinking further the limited number of boys’ places (ironically considering the latest proposal). I also blocked several attempts by local Academy Trusts to change their admission criteria to suit themselves rather than Medway children and won a number of complaints to the Information Commissioner about the incompetence of the Council and its Councillors. 

Medway

You will find below a quick gallop through some of the 60 plus items I have written about Medway schools, focusing on Council and academy trust matters, to complement my earlier Review of Seventeen Years of Support for Families.

Published in News and Comments
Wednesday, 06 October 2021 02:29

Medway Test and Review Results for 2021

Article on School Appeal Outcomes for 2021 to be posted shortly. 

Update 28th October: I now have the Medway Review Outcomes - sort of! Fewer than five of the 81 boys and fewer than five of the 98 girls from Medway state schools who went to Review were successful. No applications from private schools were successful.  What a disgrace - yet again!

The Medway Test results have now been published, with successful candidates achieving an aggregate score of 487 across the three Tests. The pass mark is set to allow a target of 23% of the Medway cohort to be successful, with 833 Medway pupils passing out of a cohort of 3605, a success rate of 23.11%. It is likely that once again well over a thousand out-of-county children will have passed the Medway Test, with more than 200 of them taking up places, including at Holcombe Grammar, blocking local boys hoping to win a  place on appeal.   

All the information at present available is in the table below, along with the results of the two previous years. I now have a more detailed breakdown from Medway Council which shows that 21% of boys and 25% of girls, attending state schools in Medway were successful both in the Test and with Review included, underlining the double unfairness of the process.  

What we do know at this stage is that for the second year running, no consideration whatever has been given to the consequences of lockdown and coronavirus on the performance of children, and indeed no mention of these in the Council Press Statement abut Medway Test results, as distinct from last year, presumably best forgotten as an inconvenience.

I also provide details of the shocking outcomes of the appeals process which saw no appeals upheld for children who did not pass the Medway Test, except at Chatham Grammar School, apart from possibly but unlikely at Rochester Grammar. There were no successes at all for boys who had not passed the Medway Test. 

You will find plenty of further information and advice below and via the links, relating to the Medway Test, the appalling Review process, appeals and application to grammar schools.

Published in News and Comments

To no one’s surprise, the Medway Review process has once again failed the children of Medway for 2021 grammar school admissions. Instead of selecting the target figure of 70 Medway state school children, or 2% of the total cohort, who should have been successful at Review, there were just 12 children picked, which is 0.34% of the cohort. The rules for the procedure make absolutely no concessions for children whose education has suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic raging over the previous eight months, underlined by this being by the second-lowest percentage for many years. The additional penalty for many of the 127 Medway children who were unsuccessful at review is that, apart from at Chatham Grammar, the rules do not allow grammar school Appeal Panels to uphold their cases unless there is a fault in process, which there almost never is. Very few (less than five) of the 33 Review requests for children from outside Medway were successful.

I have little new to say about this situation as I have been writing about the reasons why the Medway Test and Review process are unfit for the purpose for many years, most recently here. Sadly, I have not generated any response whatsoever from Medway politicians about why they are content to let this travesty continue unreformed. However, I do explore further details of outcomes below and examine the sharp rise in Out of County passes.

This article follows on from my initial analysis of Medway Test results here, which also highlights the scandal of the gross imbalance between opportunities for girls and boys at Medway grammar schools once again.  

Published in News and Comments
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 18:55

The Kent 11 Plus and Coronavirus: Part Two

Aspects of the current situation with regard to the Kent Test are that:
  • The date for the Kent Test is still currently set for September. To change it would require government approval. KCC is in discussion with government about an aspect of the Kent Test, presumably about a possible postponement.
  • There is no guarantee that any change of date would see the county free of Coronavirus, or schools operating normally.
  • There are no arrangements in place for children who are: unable to take the Kent Test because their schools are not open, or cannot provide facilities; or whose parents or schools judge it is unsafe to participate; or who are ill in large numbers. 
  • The School Admissions Code of Practice requires Admission Authorities to ‘take all reasonable steps to inform parents of the outcome of selection tests before the closing date for secondary applications on 2nd November so as to allow parents time to make an informed choice of school’.
  • The five thousand out of county children who normally take the Kent Test each year still need somewhere to sit it where it can be independently invigilated. In the past this has taken place in obliging Kent schools.   
As of today (19th May), Kent County County Council has provided no further information about the date of Testing. This is not a criticism as I don't see how they can with the current uncertainties. Registration for the Kent Test remains for a month from 1st June.
Published in News and Comments
Saturday, 02 November 2019 09:50

Medway Review 2019 and the Medway Test.

I have now received more data relating to the Medway Test with its pass level of an aggregation of 495 marks across the three tests, following on from my initial article here.

It is clear that the Review process has once again failed Medway children with a total of 0.43% of children having Reviews upheld, against a target of 2.0% of the cohort. As a result, 45 children missed out  of being found of grammar school ability this year because of failure by the Medway process. The rules then state that such children cannot be considered at appeal unless they can show the process to be flawed! Of the 15 successful reviews for Medway children out of 147 submitted, 11 were from girls, over half of these being born in the first quarter of the year. Some might argue that the underlying reason for the very low success rate at Review is poor work produced by Medway primary schools, although it could of course be simply the annual  failure of Review Panels to follow the procedure! 

22.2% of boys and 24.1 % of girls in Year Six of Medway schools passed the Medway Test, meeting the overall target of 23.0%. Whilst this confirms the annual bias in favour of girls as demonstrated below, the gap is slightly lower since the introduction of the CEM selection Test in 2017. The Council has attempted to save money by banning late testing since 2018, which is unlawful as explained here, Year Six children moving into Medway late are therfore denied the opportunity to go to grammar school. 

There were 921 Out of County (OOC) successes in the Medway Test. Nearly half of these came from Kent. Many will be looking for places at Holcombe and Chatham Girls grammar schools as second or lower choices to schools nearer their homes. Last year just 246 OOCs were allocated Medway places out of 844 grammar qualified, many of whom would have subsequently dropped out after gaining more suitable places nearer home. 

Published in News and Comments
Wednesday, 09 October 2019 12:34

Medway Test 2019: Initial results and analysis

Note: This article contains important advice which may assist those considering requesting a Review. You will find a more detailed analysis of Medway Test outcomes and the Review process here.  The parallel Kent Test article is here

The pass mark for the Medway Test for 2020 admission is an aggregate score of 490, selecting a total of 23% of Medway children, according to target. You will find an information article on Review and Appeal here. Data for individual Medway schools, including oversubscription levels and appeal outcomes are published here.

Whilst 808 Medway pupils passed the test, 35 more than in 2018, the number of out of county children (OOC) passing has continued its inexorable rise to 980. There will be far fewer girls' places available for OOCs at Rochester Grammar as explained below, but an overall surplus for local girls and probably OOCs across the area. By contrast the intense pressure on places for boys in Medway grammar schools is increasing because of the continued machinations of Holcombe Grammar, as explained below, with just one successful appeal out of 53 in 2019 as the school attempts to raise its academic entry profile by chasing higher performing London boys instead of those from Medway. The farce of the Review process will probably continue, with 2018 seeing 0.12% of the Medway cohort or just 4 out of the 202 applications for Review successful, with none from outside Medway or at private schools, against a target of 2%.  Of course this could change for 2019!   

Shockingly, Medway Council introduced a ban on late Testing last year when it was unlawful. Therefore, children moving into the area who miss the admission deadline cannot qualify for a grammar school place. 

Published in News and Comments

The problems with the Medway grammar school selection process just keep recurring, with the Medway Review procedure proving yet again to be not fit for purpose. You will find an analysis of outcomes below. 

The headline is once again the failure of the Review procedure, with  the Council announcing as always that up to 2% of the cohort of Medway children would be successful at Review, in addition to the 23% who passed the Medway Test directly. In the event, just four children from 159 hopeful Medway families that went to Review were successful for 2019 admission, just 0.12% of the cohort. What a farce, being short of the target by 63 children, but a very sad one for all those who falsely thought they were in with a chance. Not one of the 43 candidates from local private schools or outside of Medway was successful at Review.  

It is also an indictment of the work of Medway Primary schools according to the Review Panels which are made up of local secondary headteachers, who found work submitted by local primary schools to be so poor that almost no further children were found worthy of a grammar school place through the process from the 159 considered. 

Sadly, it gets even worse for those families. The School Admission Code of Practice rules that children who are unsuccessful at a Review process cannot have an appeal upheld unless there has been unfairness in the process (rarely proven). There are a few exceptions as explained below, but for the majority of the 155 families unsuccessful at Review, there is now no chance of winning an Appeal.

The two areas of bias in the Medway Test remain: older pupils do much better than those born towards the end of the school year; and girls do better than boys.

Published in News and Comments
Tagged under
Monday, 08 October 2018 20:09

Medway Test 2018: Initial Information

You will find the parallel article for the Kent test here

You will find a full analysis of Medway Test and Review outcomes here

The pass mark for the Medway Test for 2019 admission is an aggregate score of 492. This is calculated by adding together the score on the Verbal Reasoning Test together with twice the score on each of the mathematics and extended writing tests.

Although this is the lowest figure for some years it is no indication of the difficulty of the test. It is simply related to the proportion of the Year Group which sat the Test. The higher the proportion the lower the pass mark, as a result of what is called Local Standardisation, as explained here. You will find another information article on Review and Appeal here. Data for individual Medway schools including oversubscription levels and appeal outcomes here.

Whilst just 17 more Medway pupils passed the test than in 2017, a total of 773 children, the big news is that the number of out of county children passing the Medway Test has leapt by nearly 50% to 914, which will have considerable consequences for pressure on places. Councillor Andrew Mackness, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: 'Well done to everyone who sat the Medway Test. It is pleasing to see that more children than ever took the Medway Test highlighting the popularity of our excellent grammar schools'.   Presumably he is not aware of the consequences, as explored below. 

You will find the answer to most questions about whether to apply for a Review in the article on Review and Appeal.....

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
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