Supporting Families
  • banner13
  • banner7
  • banner8
  • banner3
  • banner12
  • banner11
  • banner2
  • banner4
  • banner6
  • banner10

Displaying items by tag: school appeals

Friday, 29 October 2021 12:03

School Appeals in Kent and Medway 2021

Updated 31st October

This article looks at Year Seven and primary school appeals in Kent and Medway for admission in September 2021. This has been the second year under the Covid pandemic, and once again no school appeals have been conducted with the previously normal face-to-face hearings.  I looked at this issue previously in the 2020 article with all appeals being conducted by video or telephone conferencing or else, as in the majority of cases, by panels considering the paper evidence submitted. The government has announced more flexibility of process for 2022 appeals, to allow them to take place  'in person, or by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal where all parties can make representations in writing'.

The number of successes in Kent grammar school hearings is almost identical to 2020, with 443 grammar appeals upheld,  although the number of hearings fell sharply by 17% to 1628.  The number of successes in non-selective schools (N/S) is also very similar to 2020 at 145, although here the number of appeals rose by the same 17% to 853. N/S schools outcomes fluctuate considerably each year as not only do the schools often increase their intake to meet need, but they also lose variable numbers to grammar schools after their own appeals. Medway grammar school appeals repeat the regular and disgraceful discrimination against boys, seen also in the selection process. 

There were no successes at all for the 268 appeals to Kent and Medway primary schools conducted by KCC Panels where infant class legislation applies (see below for an explanation).

I look at the appeal outcomes of all individual secondary schools more closely below.

Published in News and Comments
Tagged under

Update on Kent Appeals 13th May, here.

Letter from Kent Primary Head on Consequences of Schools Re-Opening here

Some issues relating to the Emergency Regulations for School Appeals are now resolving, but the large majority of Local Authorities appear still to be struggling to come to a view. My previous article concluded that these proposals are unworkable in most cases, especially where there are large numbers of appeals or grammar school appeals. This is now the fifth article exploring the situation as it has developed, looking at how it has been interpreted, the previous four all containing considerable detail, along with advice for appellants. I propose to update it as I receive more information, the dates of the latest update being recorded at the top of the article. 

I continue with my view that the Government emergency regulations appear to be solely for the benefit of bureaucrats and show little interest in the challenges faced by families, panellists, clerks or schools. A parallel set of rules published by the Welsh Office was in complete contrast to this and placed families first, but the relevant section appears to have mysteriously vanished, see below!  

There are three approaches allowed for hearing remote appeals. These are: video conference, telephone conference, and written submission of cases and evidence. There is no indication that these different types of hearing can be mixed for a single school’s appeals, but no specific ban, and I have already been told of several schools that are planning to go this way.

In my previous article, written nearly two weeks ago, I described a ‘chink of light’ in an omission by the regulations to be prescriptive about the written submission process. I was delighted to learn yesterday that KCC has just sent out appeal invitations to grammar school appellants using this to the full. I don't know yet if it will be applied to non-selective schools, but anticipate this. Some Kent appeals for other types of school are being heard by audio-conferencing, with clerks establishing whether appellants can manage this. If not there is a fall back to a written submission hearing. 

Further details on all these matters below, including some Local Authorities which have now made decisions (please feel free to add to these).

Published in News and Comments
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.

Published in News and Comments
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. 

Published in News and Comments
Tagged under
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,........

Published in News Archive
Tagged under

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). ......... 

Published in News Archive

The Local Government Ombudsman has today (July 6th) published a highly critical report on the Independent Appeal Panel for Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls for entry last September (2010). Whilst no fault was found with the school's actions (apart from engaging a Kent County Council Panel), KCC itself comes in for heavy criticism on a variety of fronts:........

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 02 June 2011 00:00

Complaints about Academies

National and local data for 2019/20. You will find the article from which it is drawn, here

Complaints to the DfE/ESFA about Admission Appeals to Academies and Free Schools 1st August 2019 to 31st July 2020
  National Kent Medway
1) How many complaints have been made about maladministration of appeals to academies and Free Schools for admission 104 16 3
2) For how many complaints was there maladministration that the EFA/ESFA considers may have caused injustice? 9 1 0
3) For how many complaints was there maladministration that the EFA/ESFA does not consider to have caused an injustice? 13 2 0
4) For how many complaints was there no maladministration? 76 4 3
5) How many complaints are outstanding? 6 0 0


The following table gives a breakdown of the data for complaints to the EFA about Academy and Free School Appeals for the two years, 2015-2017. You will find an article expanding on these figures here.   

Complaints to the EFA about Academy
and Free School Appeals
  National  Kent Medway
   15-16 16-17 15-16 16-17  15-16  16-17
 227  234  25  21  3 4
 14  6  o  o  0  0
without Injustice
 21  15  0  1  1  0
 133  164


 18  2


 0  33   0  2  0  1

You can see that success rates have halved since my previous data collection in 2011, below. 

A. Maladministration that the YPLA considers may have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision a fresh appeal is required to be heard by a different panel.

B. Maladministration that the YPLA does not consider to have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision no fresh appeal is required

C. No maladministration.


Total received

Decision Pending / Awaiting Further Info from parent or Clerk A* B* C* Parent Withdrew Complaint
National 107 16 7 3 78 3
Kent County Council Area 18 0 4 1 13 0
Medway Council Area 0 - - - - -

* Letters refer to decisions in previous paragraph.

Compared to Ombudsman decisions, there is a remarkably low proportion of successful complaints settled so far. Of course it may be that those where decisions are pending include a higher proportion of cases which may be settled in favour of the complainant.

By comparison, for 2010 entry, the Local Government Ombudsman heard 1403 school admission complaints nationally, fairly similar proportionately, given the number of schools involved. For Kent in 2010, there were 35 complaints to the Ombudsman about school admissions for county/community schools although the outcomes are not recorded. Kent foundation and voluntary aided schools produced 77 complaints of which 30 were the subject of local settlements (this means in general that the complaints were upheld with a fresh appeal or a recommendation to admit directly to the school), and in Medway, 6 out of 18 were upheld.

There thus appears to be a dramatic fall in the chances of success for complaints about academies, three possible reasons being as follows. Firstly, those still pending may produce a higher proportion of success, as they may be the subject of further investigation, but this would still leave the chances of success much lower. Secondly, the process of determining outcomes has significant differences. Normally in Ombudsman cases, there is discussion of the issues arising between the parties so that all have a chance to comment on the other's case. The complainant usually sees the appeal clerk's notes and the admission authority's comments on the case. he is then able to challenge any wrong information put forward. The Ombudsman issues a provisional view which either side can challenge and put forward further information. On the other hand, with the EFA, the academy gets to see the complaint, but the parent does not see their response - this is clearly unfair! There may be limited informal discussion, but the first real indication one has of the  outcome is the final decision. Thirdly, the Ombudsman website is packed with information and advice on complaints, backed up by a telephone support line. There is no such help available for complaints to the YPLA.  There is solely information on the address to send a complaint to. One of the massive frustrations reported by schools and parents alike, is the difficulty in contacting real people - telephone numbers all too often lead to message boards where no one answers!

I am happy to be corrected on any of the above views or information.

Thursday, 16 September 2010 00:00

Can I help you?

I am afraid I have now retired completely from providing advice. See article here

Basic Information

You may wish to  first visit the Education website or telephone the Department for factual advice, as below.

Kent County Council: Education Website, here. School Admissions (and other education departments), telephone: 03000 41 21 21.


Medway Council: Education Website here. Telephone: 01634 306 000.


Enquirers find the Kent County Council Schools website and Admissions Department especially helpful. Many parents find that Medway Council is not helpful, nor correct in its advice, which can vary from family to family. 

Both departments should be able to provide you with any factual information you need to assist you to make a decision, but are not allowed to offer you opinion, nor compare different options.

If your child is currently at school, you should also talk to their headteacher, who is likely to have a good knowledge of local schools and more importantly, should know your child.  

Published in What I Offer