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Displaying items by tag: appeals

Tuesday, 17 March 2020 15:11

School Appeals and Coronavirus

Update: 17th March

II have recently given an interview to BBC SE on the subject of GCSE and A Level, in which I found my self saying for the first time that this is one of those rare occasions when we must put the needs of the nation against the welfare and life chances of the individual. We will need to accept (much easier when you have no personal stake) that whatever decision is reached there will be great unfairness and damage to life chances of too many young people.

There is an urgent need to resolve potential and pressing problems brought about by the Coronavirus, relating to school admission appeals .  Although this is not high up the priorities in the great scheme of things, it is of great consequence for many thousands of families across the country whose children have been offered schools they consider unsuitable and who fear their children's life chances will be seriously damaged as a consequence. Last year there were 3,153 secondary admission appeals in Kent and Medway, of which 855 were successful. Arrangements for appeals in 2020 are already being drawn up by many schools. 

I look below at five options for managing the changed circumstances, but the only piece of advice I can give for parents at present is to carry on as far as possible to prepare for an appeal happening, although I do not see how any form of appeal can take place unless there is considerable change in the regulations. There is also the additional problem caused by the likelihood of schools closing in the near future, which will deprive many families of their support and the opportunity to collect documentation and other evidence to support appeals. 

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Friday, 18 October 2019 19:57

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes: 2019

This article looks at Year Seven and primary school admission appeals in Kent and Medway, conducted by Kent County Council, Medway Council and a number of private providers. There is a sharp rise in the number of secondary school appeals from the 2018 figures, with grammar school numbers rising from 2027 to 2284, and non-selective appeals from 678 to 895. Anecdotally, there is also a sharp rise in the number of secondary appeals in year and taking place outside the normal dates.

The headline statistic for the second year running is for Holcombe Grammar, a school that once saw a decent success rate as it recognised academic potential in local Chatham boys, but oversaw a shambles in the appeals of 2018, and now had just one appeal upheld in 2019 out of 53 heard.

As usual, there is no obvious pattern amongst non-selective schools, although I look at outcomes in each District below. The four Dartford grammars had just 18 successful appeals between them, out of 426, with Dartford Girls for the second time in three years having none. Dane Court and Dartford Grammars had the most appeals heard, at 130 each. The highest success rates at  grammar school appeals in 2019 are led this year by Highsted at 86% of appeals upheld, followed by Chatham Girls at 81%; Simon Langton Girls at 70%, and Maidstone Girls Grammar at 66%. The rise in successful Chatham Grammar Appeals has seen the overall Medway grammar pass rate to 29% to match the Kent grammar pass rate.  

 Further details below, including primary appeals heard by Local Authority Panels. You will find appeal panel data (along with other information) for each secondary school in Kent and Medway here (currently being updated; please let me know if you need the information for a particular school).

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Update: Further updated article here 18th July 

This article looks at the situation where families have gone to appeal for a grammar school place for a child who was initially non-selective, the child has been found of grammar school ability, but then been told by the Independent Appeal Panel that there is no room. In most cases, the family can then ask for the child to be placed on the school waiting list.

After the debacle of the 2018 appeals for places at Holcombe Grammar School (previously Chatham Grammar School) in Medway described previously, the article then considers the ongoing shambles of waiting list mismanagement for places at the school. The cast of this story also includes Medway Council and an Appeal Panel provided by KCC. 

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017 04:41

Secondary School Admissions and Appeals: What I offer

Please note, as recorded elsewhere I have retired from offering a full appeals service.

However, I am happy to offer my Telephone Consultation Service for school admission and appeal matters to Kent and Medway families, looking to Kent and Medway non-selective and grammar schools.

If you wish to find out more, please go to the Contact Me page, for further details and complete the form as fully as possible.

I have been working with local families for thirteen years, and so have gathered unrivalled and independent experience and knowledge in the areas described in the pages of this website. In particular, I hope the large amount of free information and advice provided in the Information Section at the top right of this page will answer many potential queries.

For grammar school admissions and appeal advice, I do not provide general background before test results are known, as it becomes too speculative.

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Friday, 22 September 2017 19:42

Appeal Outcomes in Kent, Kent Panel Results

Important Update: This article is now complemented by a second, which looks at the outcomes of appeals organised other than by Kent and Medway County Councils (around 40% of the total)

This article looks at school admission appeals in Kent and Medway heard by Appeal Panels organised by the two Local Authorities. I will publish another article later when I have outcomes of appeals set up by schools themselves, either using a commercial or professional organisation, or else organised by the school. 

The success rate for grammar appeals has risen from 32% in 2016, to 37%. This was helped by sharp rises at several schools, led by the Invicta Grammar with a success rate up from 60% to an astonishing 89% for the 65 girls appealing,  and Simon Langton Grammar Girls, rates so high they can only bring the system into disrepute.

At the other end of the scale, the four Dartford grammar schools were the only ones with a success rate of less than 10%, indeed the only schools below 25%, headed up by Dartford Girls Grammar, with NO successful appeals out of 93 heard.

For non-selective schools, the success rate fell from 32% to 23%. Trinity, Sevenoaks, saw all five appeals succeed with St Anselm’s Catholic 79% of the 11 appeals heard. Both St Simon Stock Catholic (30 heard) and George’s CofE, Gravesend (6) turned down all appeals.

For primary schools, just one success each in Kent and Medway schools where Infant Class Legislation applies.

Further details below, along with a report of the untimely death of  Frank Pinnington, one of the best Appeal Administrators in the business. 

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Monday, 11 September 2017 02:21

Complaints about Academy and Free School Apppeals

I am regularly asked regarding possible complaints about Admission Appeals to academies and Free Schools, and respond that it is rare such complaints succeed.

I now have the data for academies and Free Schools for the past two years, and this underlines how difficult it is. Across Kent and Medway there were 53 complaints to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) in the two years, and not one was successful, although two found maladministration without injustice, i.e. the panel made mistakes but these made no difference to the outcome.

Nationally there were 461 complaints, possible injustice was found in 20 of these, and 36 were found to have maladministration with no injustice.

Further details and comment below.

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Success rates at admission appeals for Kent and Medway secondary schools have fallen significantly for 2015 for the second successive year, with chances of success at primary school appeals remaining extremely low, as can be seen from my previous article on 2014 appeals. You will find further historic data for Kent here, and for Medway here

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2015
2015 2014
Appeals Held Number % Upheld Number % Upheld
Kent Non-Selective 484 30% 335 33%
Kent Grammar 1587 37% 1667 42%
Medway Non-Selective 178 34% 122 24%
Medway Grammar 245 40% 226 47%
TOTAL SECONDARY 2494 35% 2350 40%
Kent Primary 292 0.7% 340 1.5%
Medway Primary  63  1.6% 65 0%

The secondary figures hide enormous differences between schools, and variations from year to year, key figures being given in the Individual School sections for Kent and Medway elsewhere om this website, as these are updated.

For grammar schools, numbers range from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar (Ramsgate) with 146 appeals (up from 102 last year) of which 33 were upheld, through to Cranbrook School, one appeal (6 last year) which was not upheld. For non-selective schools, highest were St George’s CofE in Broadstairs with 68 appeals (13 successful), and Brompton Academy in Medway with 58 appeals (7 successful), through to three schools with no successful appeals.

For Infant Schools where Infant Class Legislation applies (see below), there were 355 appeals heard across Kent and Medway by Local Authority Panels, with just 3 successful.

You will find further information and advice on school appeals here, with more data and explanation of the 2015 figures below…..

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Friday, 03 July 2015 19:42

Kent Advice School Appeals Consultancy

I regret to inform browsers and other enquirers that I am retiring from my appeals consultancy with effect from the end of this term. Whilst I have enjoyed a gratifying level of success, I have found the past year especially hard work, accompanied by personal health difficulties. Just two clients were unsuccessful in appealing for a school of their choice this summer, and over the past eleven years I have prepared more than 800 appeals, with a success rate of over 95% and learned a great deal about schools and the admissions and appeals process on the way. With regard to the success rate, to be fair I have only taken on clients where I have seen a chance of winning, and so have disappointed many enquirers where I have felt unable to deliver.

I fully intend to keep my other educational activities going, including this website offering information, advice, news and comment, together with my campaigns and telephone consultancy, with the latter also likely to provide limited support for appeals but constrained by time available.

The Telephone Consultancy service has mushroomed, although as a result I find I am having to be more selective in the areas of advice offered, focusing mainly on school admissions, again because of time constraints. A big area of my work now caters for advising expatriates coming to Kent, with several new clients every week.

As many of you will have noted, my website is not up to date in several areas, a situation I plan to rectify over coming months. In particular I have to remove references to my appeals consultancy. In the past year, it has proved more popular than ever, and attracted 193,432 certified visits from 116,376 users, 57% of which were new visitors.

A subsequent article will explain that I am expanding the website to offer advertising for those offering educational services, and I am now happy to receive enquiries about this service. The first advertiser, the tutoring company Bright Young Things, has seen 156 visitors to its webpage in the first two days it has been up.

The past year…

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Monday, 14 October 2013 22:37

Secondary School Appeal Outcomes for 2012-13

I now have appeal outcomes for nearly every secondary school in Kent that held appeals in the past school year. 

I don't proposed to publish individual outcomes as these can be very misleading and some change dramatically year on year; so are not a good guide to future appeal results. In any case, a successful appeal depends not only on the strength of the parental case, the defence put up by the school against admitting additional children, and the pressure on places,  but also the way the appeal panel operates.  

There is much more information about appeals in the appeal sections of this website (right hand panel) or for some schools in the individual school information section (also via right hand panel). 

The majority of appeals held in Kent are heard by Independent Appeal Panels organised by Kent County Council who provide panels for community, foundation, voluntary aided schools, and academies. However 14 Kent non-selective schools, 15 grammar schools and all Medway secondary schools use appeal panels provided by other organisations or, in a very few cases, organised by themselves.

The following tables show the outcomes of independent appeals for these groups of schools, although there is a wide range of outcomes for individual schools, varying year on year. 

 Kent & Medway School Secondary School Appeal Outcomes 2013
Kent County Council Appeal Panels
Type of School
Number of
Place offered
before appeal
% successful
appeals of those
(14 schools)
 196  58  30  53  54 66
(18 schools)
904  382  432  90  5 46
      Kent and Medway Appeals managed by other organisations
(15 schools)
408 86 168 63 89 34
((18 schools)
567  244  241  54  32 50

Several non-selective schools set up appeals included in the above, but ended up offering places to all appellants, either because the schools expanded numbers or other children offered places dropped out probably after successful grammar school appeals. This movement creates what I call the churning effect as parents trade upwards, which has seen more movement this year than most. These schools included (but don't assume this will also happen for 2014 entry): Brockhill Park; Canterbury High; King Ethelbert; Rainham School for Girls; St Simon Stock; and Westlands and Wrotham. 

At the other end of the scale,........

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To be updated after 4 p.m. Friday

For 2013 entry, a record 84.2% of Kent children have been offered their first choice of secondary school on allocation, although this still leaves 2390 disappointed to a greater or lesser degree. However, I estimate well over half of these will be offered a higher choice of school through what I call the ’churning’ process. Churning happens as places are freed up by successful appeals elsewhere and children being offered places off waiting lists. Each successful move creates a further space at another school, and so the process trickles down over the summer months, with the least popular schools losing students without replacement.

So what should you do if you are not offered the school of your choice? First piece of advice is - don’t panic and don’t do something you might regret later. There is no advantage in getting your appeal in first so resist the temptation to dash off a letter to the school of your choice which may hinder what you want to say later.........

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