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Displaying items by tag: secondary schools - Kent Independent Education Advice

Kent County Council figures show a pleasing increase in the number of children being offered their first choice secondary school on 1st March, up from 80% in 2010 to 83% in 2011. Just 413 got none of their choices.  With nearly 500 fewer Kent children in the system, waiting lists for popular schools are generally much lower this year.  There is a similar picture in Medway with 87% of children being allocated their first choice school, although this is helped by a fall in the age group of nearly 10%.

Last year the eighteen most popular schools each turned away more than 50 children who put them in first place, but this year the same number of schools sees the bar drop to 40 places oversubscribed.

Leigh Technology Academy (Dartford) remains Kent’s most popular school for the fourth year running, with 199 disappointed first choice applicants. Second comes Tonbridge Grammar, with 104 girls who had passed the eleven plus turned away. After Westlands (Sittingbourne) on 94, comes Dartford Grammar School with 88, entering the lists for the first time as applicants from the London Boroughs realised the school was accessible, a third of the places going to high scoring applicants from out of county. Next in line was Judd School (grammar, Tonbridge), followed by: Valley Park School (Maidstone); Fulston Manor School (Sittingbourne); Brockhill Park Performing Arts College (Hythe); Brompton Academy (Gillingham); King Ethelbert School (Margate  – new entry); and The Thomas Aveling School (Rochester).

Then follows Skinner’s School (grammar, Tunbridge Wells ), slipping from its position as most popular grammar school in 2010, and: Folkestone Academy; Dartford Grammar School for Girls;  Canterbury High School; Hillview School for Girls (Tonbridge); Bennett Memorial Diocesan School (Tunbridge Wells); and Simon Langton Girls Grammar School (Canterbury – new entry).

At the other end of the scale, four Kent schools were over half empty before KCC drafted in additional children who had been offered none of their choices: Skinner’s Kent Academy; Angley School (Cranbrook); Walmer Science College, and New Line Learning Academy (Maidstone).  One wonders how some of these schools can continue to function with finances depending on pupil numbers.

The school with the greatest increase in popularity was Dartford Grammar School (up 55 disappointed first choices), the biggest loser was surprisingly Homewood School in Tenterden, down 100, but still oversubscribed.

The pressure of out of county children taking up places in Kent grammar schools is once again greatest in the North West of the county, with 189 children taking up places in the four Dartford Grammar Schools (52 of these coming from as far away as Lewisham and Greenwich) as opposed to just 57 in the three West Kent super selectives, both figures very similar to last year.

Many of these figures will have changed this week as parents had to decide whether to accept places offered and there will be happiness for some, offered places off the waiting lists. As many as 700 further children may gain places through the appeal procedure, although this stressful process goes on until July for some.

Published in Newspaper Articles

I gave an interview on Radio Kent (today) supporting a letter written by Sarah Hohler (Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Education) to Michael Gove urging him to reconsider the inclusion of many children with SEN in Government performance tables as they distorted the achievements of schools. I made three points:.........

Published in News Archive

Kent County Council figures show an increase in the number of children being offered their first choice secondary school on 1st March, up to 80%.  However, this means that over 3000 children did not get their chosen school, in many cases producing family heartbreak.

Schools in both Kent and Medway show wide fluctuations in popularity, with Academies making much of the news.  Eighteen schools each turned away more than fifty children who put them in first place, whilst at the other end of the scale six schools were over half empty before KCC added to their numbers with children who had been given none of their choices.

For the third year running, Leigh Technology Academy (Dartford) was top of the oversubscription lists, with 218 disappointed first choice applicants. Second was Skinners School (but see below), third  Valley Park, Maidstone, centre of a major row over fullness last year, with 112 turned away, an even larger number than 2009. Other schools oversubscribed by more than 50 first choice applicants are (in order):  Homewood (Tenterden); North School (Ashford); Judd School; Thomas Aveling (Rochester); Fulston Manor  then Westlands (both Sittingbourne); Bennett Memorial (TW); Folkestone Academy; Tonbridge Grammar School, Brockhill Park (Hythe);  Sandwich Technology College; Mascalls (Paddock Wood); Charles Dickens (Broadstairs); Gillingham Academy, Weald of Kent Grammar and Hayesbrook (Tonbridge).

Whilst these  figures are normally the best guide to popularity, the Skinners School figure is considerably inflated as many of their first choices were actually crowded out by children who did not score enough to get into The Judd School but then secured places at Skinners, as their second choice. These are the vagaries of the super selection debate.

Four of the half empty schools: Christchurch (Ashford); New Line Learning (Maidstone); Skinners Kent Academy (TW); and Wildernesse (Sevenoaks) are hoping for a better future as they are either new Academies or about to become Academies. The school with the greatest fall in first choices is Wilmington Enterprise College (currently in Special Measures), also due to become an Academy, so the programme is clearly fulfilling its intention of targeting problem schools. Indeed, the new Longfield Academy has obviously turned the corner as far as parents are concerned and has the greatest increase in first choices (67) of any Kent or Medway school.

The pressure of out of county children taking up places in Kent grammar schools is once again greatest in the North West of the county , with 241 children taking up places in the four Dartford Grammar Schools (36 of these coming from as far away as Lewisham) as opposed to just 53 in the three West Kent super selectives.  My view on the cause of the pressure in West Kent grammars is starting to swing towards the intense coaching culture being the prime source of the problem.

Many of these figures will have changed this week as parents had to decide whether to accept places offered and there will be happiness for some, offered places off the waiting lists. As many as 700 further children may gain places through the appeal procedure, although this stressful process goes on until July for some.

One last statistic: 151 Kent children are bound for Medway schools with 116 coming the other way. School planners are required by government to reduce the number of empty places in schools and spend much time making decisions based on local population figures, when choices often cross boundaries.  The more I see figures such as the above, the more I become convinced that parents en masse have a wisdom about which are the best non-selective schools and their collective voice should be listened to.  I am not so sure this applies to grammar schools, where some parents chase the top scoring schools without stopping to look at the underlying factors.

Published in Newspaper Articles
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 19:03

Secondary School Admissions: KOS Sept 2010

Last week, some 9,000 Kent children took the Kent eleven plus, results due on 18th October. Parents then have less than two weeks until 31 October (a week shorter than last year!) to list four secondary schools in preference order on the Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF), so early planning is important. Already some secondary schools have held Open Days, and parents should visit all possible schools and ask about the chances of a successful application.

It is impossible to give specific advice on choosing schools in a short article, as the situation varies enormously from town to town and often year by year. My website at www.kentadvice.co.uk provides more information and I plan to expand this shortly.

If your child passes the Kent test, you can name just grammar schools on your SCAF.  If you don’t qualify for any of these, you may be offered the nearest grammar school with a vacancy but last year some parents were offered non selective places as there were no other local grammar school places vacant. If your child has passed the eleven plus and you name grammar schools and a non selective school, for example a church comprehensive school, you will be offered the highest school on your list for which you are eligible, whether or not it is a grammar school. If your child has taken the eleven plus and not passed, you must include any grammar on the SCAF  you wish to appeal to, but I recommend you include at least one non-selective school. Appeals will not be heard until the summer of Year Six. If your child has not taken the eleven plus, you can only apply for non selective schools.  Some schools last year still claimed falsely that parents needed to put the school first on the SCAF to secure a place.

After closing date each school draws up a list of eligible applicants according to their oversubscription rules. They are not told where you listed them on the SCAF or which other schools you applied to, so list schools exactly as you prefer them - there is no way of improving your chances at a school by tactics of choice.  The only exception to this is, if  going to appeal, you will find the appeal panel is told and may be influenced by the school you have been allocated. There is no advantage in putting just one school on your list.

 

I strongly recommend you apply on-line so you reliably receive results the day before they are delivered by post. Last year over 79% of Kent parents went online.

On National Offer Day 1st March 2011, your child will be allocated the highest preference school for which they qualify.  So some children could get their fourth choice ahead of others who listed it first if their claim is stronger. If you don’t qualify for any school on your list, KCC offers a place at the nearest appropriate school with vacancies.

 

This is a time when rumours swirl about the playground gates, many of them old wives tales. If in doubt check it out and my best wishes to every family going through what is undoubtedly an extremely stressful process. Remember, over 80% of all families were offered their first choice school in March last year, a figure which will have been much higher after the appeals process was concluded.

Peter J Read

Independent Education Advice

Published in Newspaper Articles
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 00:00

Oversubscription Appeals

last updated August 2016

You will find data for 2017 Appeals in Kent and Medway here

 Each Year I receive a number of enquiries about oversubscription appeals following the normal application process for primary and secondary schools.These are where the school (it may be non-selective or grammar) is full. I advise some parents to put in a holding appeal (simply writing "I am appealing for a place for my child (name) at (name) school. A more detailed letter will follow" on the form, which means you do not need to submit full details by deadline day). You can then leave submitting a detailed letter until after the first round of reallocations takes place. I am happy to delay taking on clients until that time, when you will know whether an appeal will be necessary. Also the pressure on myself is less at these peak times, and so I am able to respond more quickly. Please feel free to contact me if you wish clarification on this.

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If you are interested in using my professional services, please email me with a brief outline of your situation (including test marks if a grammar school appeal) as explained here, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I can only accept clients who live in Kent or Medway Local Authority areas and are appealing for schools in those local authority areas. 

You will find data on 2016 appeals here. 

To make an appeal for a Kent school you should download an appeal form here.

  • You will find the most recent appeal statistics for both Kent and Medway via the appropriate link. 
  • There is a new Code of Practice for School Appeals, issued by government, which took effect in 2012. Some key issues are set out at Code.
  • If your child is not allocated their first preference school in March, you may be able to secure a place at a school higher in your list through appeal or via the waiting list and you can follow both processes at the same time.
  • First piece of advice is – don’t panic. You will not get an earlier appeal or a better hearing by sending in your case early. If you are not ready, make sure you record your appeal by the closing date, using such words as “I am appealing for….... I will send in my detailed case when it is ready”. This enables you to take advice or plan your appeal without additional pressure (it is already stressful enough!). If yours is one of the few academies that organises early appeals, you can still send in your case when you are notified of the date, without penalty. Appeal dates for each school are published on the school website by February 28th (secondary). 
  • Appeals are always possible for non selective schools when the number of pupils applying for a school is larger than the approved number of admissions.
  • Kent admission rules allow parents to apply to any school not on their original list after the first Allocation of vacant spaces in April using the In Year Admission process. Use this to the full, as at the least you are placed on a waiting list and then have rights of appeal. Some children who did not originally apply for a school and who now apply after first Allocation will be offered places ahead of others on the waiting list. The situation in Medway is more confused and confusing. 
  • You will be asked to submit a case and appear personally at the Panel hearing. The best grounds for appeal are where families can show that the admission of another pupil will not damage the education of those already admitted, where another child has been wrongly selected ahead of their own, or that the admission policy has been interpreted wrongly. Some Foundation & VA schools are keen to admit additional pupils, and in such cases the appeal is much easier, if you have a reasonable case, or your child appears to ‘fit’ the school ethos. you will find information on this in my Individual School pages for Kent and Medway
  • Each oversubscribed school has its own character and approach to appeals for additional pupils.
  • Grammar school oversubscription appeals can be very complex, as appellants may have children who have passed the eleven plus, others will not have, and the appeal panel has to balance competing claims.
  • I can advise on the expected appeal pattern for each school, and the best strategy to achieve success. 
  • Remember, at the end of the day, if the school is genuinely full there may be no way to secure admission.

Kent County Council operates what a called Group Appeals for many of its Appeal hearings, where schools are oversubscribed. Schools where this process is being used include Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys and Simon Langton Grammar School for Girls.  The Admission Code for School Appeals recommends that where a school is oversubscribed, appeals should be divided into two stages. Where this happens, the first part is called the group stage, where all parents appealing are invited to a meeting at the start of proceedings. At this meeting, all the issues relating to oversubscription are debated between parents and the Admission Authority Presenting Officer in front of the Appeal Panel. No matters relating to individuals are  considered. This enables the Appeal Panel to determine before hearing individual appeals how many children, if any, can be admitted before prejudice applies (see section on appeals).  The second stage is the individual appeal where each parent puts the case for their individual child. In the second stage there is no discussion of oversubscription issues. The Panel then has to decide which children should be offered places, possibly accepting that for some, there will be prejudice, but their individual circumstances outweigh this. I have some experience of the system, as Medway Council has used it for many years with, in my view, mixed success. Many parents are inhibited at the Group meeting and find it difficult to put forward their points. At some meetings the meeting rapidly degenerated into an unpleasant verbal battle (I don't see this happening at the Kent appeals); at others very few parents turned up,few views were expressed and the meeting fizzled out (more likely). My advice is go to the meeting, at the very least you will see the Appeal Panel members in advance. Don't be afraid to speak out if you believe the school is capable of admitting extra children although this can be come quite a technical argument and school cases for not admitting additional children can be quite intimidating.  You won't affect your individual chances by making the case that more children in general can be admitted. In Medway where Appeal Panel members were used to the process, they engaged in quite vigorous and challenging questioning of the Admission Authority. One would expect that KCC panellists will have been trained to carry out similar rigorous questioning. However, where there is no Group Appeal, questioning on prejudice is required to take place in every appeal and can be quite perfunctory and formulaic, so there does need to be a  change of approach.   One of the strongest arguments year on year comes from looking at the numbers in older year groups. If the school can manage these, then why shouldn't it manage the same number again. 

Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00

Secondary School Appeals

Last updated: March 2019

You will find further information, comment and advice in the page relating to specific types of appeal: Kent grammar schools; Medway grammar school review and appeal; oversubscription appeals; and primary school appeals. A look at key points of the School Admissions Appeals Code also contains further advice and information.  

You will find data for 2018 Appeals in Kent and Medway entry here and more information about individual Kent schools here

I have retired from my full appeals advice service but  My Telephone Consultation Service is available through the year, for both admissions and appeals.  I also support a range of In Year Appeals, often from expatriate families. I am afraid I only support families living in the Kent and Medway Local Authority areas for schools in these two authorities. See Can I help You for details. Up until summer 2016 I had supported around a thousand successful appeals to all types of schools in Kent and Medway providing me with a wealth of local experience.

All school appeals are required to follow the mandatory School Admissions Appeals Code.

Parents have the right to appeal against any decision not to offer a school place, and that decision must be in writing and contain information on how to appeal.  Whilst there is no time limit on when an appeal can be lodged,  it is normally best to meet the official closing dates, otherwise parents may find the schools their appeal is heard late and the school has filled at the time of the main appeals.

I regularly receive a number of enquiries about oversubscription appeals at the beginning of March when decisions arrive. These arise where the school (it may be non-selective or grammar) is full after the main allocation of places. 

In all cases, it is important that you notify the Admission Authority (which is the Local Authority in the case of Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools, otherwise it is the school or academy) that you are appealing, so that you are in the lists before the closing date for appeals. I advise many parents to put in a holding appeal (simply writing "I am appealing for a place for my child (name) at (name) school. A more detailed letter will follow" on the form you are sent with your decision letter, which means you do not need to submit full details by deadline day). You can then leave submitting a detailed letter until you have a clearer picture of the situation and you can also find out by how much you missed out on a place (for example distance) from the school. 

For non-selective schools, or oversubscribed grammar schools where your child passed the Kent or Medway Test, you should also apply to go on the waiting list. Arrangements for both processes are sent with your allocation letter on National Allocation Day.

In any case, DO NOT PANIC. Do not send off something immediately. It may damage your case when the appeal is finally heard and, however angry you are with the allocation, you won't gain any advantage or have your case heard early.  It is best to wait until you are ready with all your supporting evidence and then send it in together. It is good practice to get all material there at least ten days before the appeals start for your school, to ensure that papers can be distributed to the panellists. Few appeals are heard before May but Admission Authorities must publish their appeal timetable on their website. No Appeal Panel will discriminate against you if you deliver supplementary material after the official closing date for appeals, although administrators often find it convenient and may hassle you. If you don’t register your appeal until after this date you may find your appeal is heard after the main batch, when it may be more difficult to win an appeal if there is no room.

This right includes appeals against a decision not to be offered a place at sixth form, although the student themselves can also appeal in such cases.

In Kent and Medway, appeals are heard before an Independent Appeal Panel comprising three panellists (except at Simon Langton Boys Grammar that normally uses five panellists). These are independent of the school and the Local Authority, but are appointed by the Admisison Authority. All panellists are required to have been trained. An Appeal Panel has to have at least one Advisory Member and one Lay Member. An Advisory Member has experience in education, or is acquainted with educational conditions in the area, or is the parent of a registered child at a school. A Lay Member does not have personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school, but may be a school governor or have other voluntary experience. As you can see, appeal panellists do not initially have to have great knowledge of the education system, but soon acquire expertise in the role and in the different situations they may be faced with. All are volunteers and in my experience the great majority carry out an effective job. 

Chances of success at appeal vary widely; last year the number of successful appeals at individual Kent grammar schools varied from 0 to 73, and for non selective schools from 0 to 25. You will find some more detail about appeal outcomes for 2018 here.  These figures confirm that whilst Panels are trained to follow the mandatory Code of Practice, they may adapt their decision to local circumstances, such as the pressure on places. 

For non selective and primary schools, appeals are against a decision not to admit the child because the school is full. 

For grammar schools, there are three types of appeal:
1) Against a decision that the child has been found non selective, although there are still places in the school;
2) Against a decision that the child has been found non-selective and the school is full;
3) Against a decision that the child has been found selective but the school is full. 

Appeal Panels can be organised in a variety of ways. All community  and voluntary controlled schools in Kent and Medway will use Panels selected and trained by the Local Authority, but independent of the Education Department. The LA also provides clerks to administer the process and will manage all paperwork. 

Academies, Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools in Kent may also use the services of Local Authority Panels, but those in Kent or Medway have three alternative choices:

  1. There are several Independent Appeal Panel Administrators operating in the area who offer services to a number of schools. These will recruit their own appeal Panel members and provide Independent Clerks. 
  2. A few schools use their own independent clerk to organise appeals and may recruit their own Independent panellists.
  3. There are now a couple of organisations offering to run appeals for schools, in one case even offering to provide the school representative at the appeal! Statistics for these panels suggest a much lower rate of success. 


In my experience, Panels organised by the Local Authorities or Independent Panel Administrators managing appeals at a group of schools are generally most independent.

Each Panel administrator should provide comprehensive documentation in advance setting out the appeal process, so that parents know what procedure is to be followed.

An increasing number of schools that are oversubscribed in both Kent and Medway operate a group appeal. At a group appeal, all appealing parents are invited to hear the Admission Authority case for not admitting additional pupils in the presence of the Independent Appeal Panel, and to ask questions. The Appeal Panel can then make a decision on how many additional children should be admitted (if any), so that individual appeals can focus on the parental case, without the issues of fullness being considered further at every appeal. No individual case or circumstances are considered at the group stage. 

I believe this is an effective way of managing oversubscription appeals, but can produce fireworks or a difficult meeting that requires good chairmanship. Where a group appeal is not used, each individual hearing considers evidence on both the fullness of the school and the case for the individual child.

Last Updated June 2018

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This page is designed primarily for parents resident in Medway, whose children will be transferring to state secondary schools in September 2019. It should be read in conjunction with the pages on Medway Grammar School Admissions and Kent Secondary School Admissions.

There is more information, advice and comment on the School Admission Code page.

You will find the full Medway Co-Ordinated Admission Scheme for entry in September 2019 here.

Please note that for parents applying for any school in Medway outside the normal admission round, you will need to go through the In Year Admission process. For schools run by Medway Council applications need to be made through the Council. Most academies and Voluntary Aided schools manage their own late and in year admissions, in which case they are technically nothing to do with the Council. However, some of these still delegate the process to Medway Council. In my experience Medway Council does not appear to operate a systematic approach to such admissions, with varying advice, some of it breaking the Schools Admission Code. You will find further details here

News and Information Items relevant to Medway Secondary School Admission for September 2018 

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Medway Non-Selective Schools: Allocation March 2018

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Medway Grammar Schools: Allocation March 2018

Secondary School Allocation Statistics in Medway for September 2018: Initial Statistics

Secondary School Appeals

Medway Grammar School Review and Appeals

Movement in and out of Kent and Medway: Secondary Allocation March 2015 2018 data is included in the main pages via the links above

Information on Individual Medway Secondary Schools

 
You may also find an article I wrote for Kent on Sunday in September 2014 about secondary admissions helpful.
 
Statistics for 2010 to 2018, including Medway Test result and Review entry are here.

Consult the article on In Year Admissions if you are looking for a new school at other times.

TIMETABLE
 
Key Action
Key Dates in Scheme
Opening date for registration for Medway Tests 9am Monday 4 June 2018
Closing date for registration for Medway Tests 5pm Monday 2 July 2018
Secondary school applications open 9am Monday 10 September 2018
Medway Test Date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school during the week Tuesday 18/ Wednesday 19 September 2018
Medway Test date for children attending Medway primary, junior and independent schools which have opted to test in own school on Saturday and those children from out of area and those Medway schools that have not opted to test in own school (will be tested in test centres). Saturday 22 September 2018
Parents informed of test results Monday 8 October 2018
Closing Date for review requests Monday 16 October 2018
Parents informed of review results posted by Tuesday 23 October 2018
National Closing Date for Common Application Form (online and SCAF) 5pm Wednesday 31 October 2018
National Offer Day, offers posted or sent by email Friday 1 March 2019
Places must be accepted/refused and requests to go on a waiting list and appeals must be submitted By Friday 29 March 2019
Vacant places re-allocated by Medway Council Monday 23 April 2019 until Tuesday 31 December 2019

Whilst there are national closing and offer dates, each Local Authority operates slightly different processes for allocating pupils, for example Medway parents have six choices and Kent parents have four choices. The Medway secondary school admission prospectus (an essential item, available from Medway Council or your local primary school), or online here, when available, contains details of the all important oversubscription rules, which determine if you will be offered a place if too many people apply. Medway residents need to apply on the  Medway Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF), also listing any schools in Kent applied for. In the same way, residents of Kent and other Local Authorities should apply for Medway schools on their own Local Authority application form. 

GRAMMAR SCHOOL TESTING

It is essential that all parents, who are considering entering their child for the Medway or Kent tests, register their child on the appropriate form obtainable from the primary school or the LA. In Medway, you will find a copy of the form in the LA Prospectus “Admission to Secondary School”. Your child cannot take the Medway or Kent tests if he or she has not been registeredYou cannot be considered for a Medway grammar school if your child has not sat the  Medway tests, except in the case of the two Chatham Grammars - see following. There is nothing to lose by entering your child for both tests. For the two Chatham Grammar Schools, admission is via success in either Kent or Medway tests. Medway Grammar School applications are considered in more detail on a separate page.
 
THE REVIEW PROCESS
 
Where children have taken the Medway Test and been unsuccessful, parents have the right to request a review of the decision within the next week. Results will be out in time for you to complete your SCAF. Parents will need to think carefully about whether to apply for a Review, as if unsuccessful, you may find yourself barred from making an appeal on academic grounds and in any case, the Review documents are presented tot he appeal panel. For more information see Medway grammar school Review and appeal.
 
APPLICATIONS
 
Most Secondary School Open Days take place in the Autumn Term. Most Grammar schools hold Open Days after assessment results are sent out on 4th October. Details of these are published in the Medway Admissions Booklet.

Parents will then be able to select up to six schools in order on the Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF).   

Some scenarios:
 
 1) If the child has passed the Medway tests, you may name just grammar schools on your SCAF. Because there are falling numbers in Medway secondary schools, there are plenty of vacancies in the system, so naming all grammar schools for which your child is eligible ensures he or she will be allocated to one of these. 
 2) If your child has not taken the eleven plus, you can only be considered for non selective schools.
 3) If your child has taken the eleven plus and not passed, and you wish to appeal, you must name the grammar schools you wish to appeal to on the SCAF, together with any non selective schools you wish to apply to.
 4) If your child has passed the eleven plus and you name grammar schools and a non selective school, for example a church comprehensive school, you will be offered the highest school on your list for which your child is eligible. If this is the non selective school then you will be offered it in preference to a grammar school lower down your list.
5) Note if you finish up appealing see "Warning" below.
 
The process of identifying which one school your child will be offered on National Offer Day is called an Equal Preference Scheme and is quite complex to understand.
 
However:
 
You will not boost your chances at a school by placing it in a different order than your genuine preference. Sadly, some schools still verbally advise parents otherwise. No Kent or Medway school is told the position where parents have placed a school on the SCAF at allocation time, and so none can offer a place according to position.
 
Each school draws up a list of eligible applicants in terms of priority according to their oversubscription criteria. They are not told where you have listed them on the SCAF, so list schools exactly as you prefer them and don’t be swayed by any school telling you it gives priority to those who list them first. Your child will then be offered the highest preference school for which they are eligible. This means that some children could get their fourth choice ahead of others who listed it first if their claim is stronger. If your child does not qualify for any school on your SCAF, the LA will offer a place at the nearest Medway school it judges as appropriate, or sensible.

Warning on Medway School Admissions

Schools are not allowed to know the position you have placed them on the Application Form when drawing up rankings of children to determine who is awarded a place. However, for appeals the whole application form,including reasons for applying for a school is sent to schools being appealed for to be provided as evidence for appeal panels when considering appeals. I regard it as a seriously retrograde step placing parents in an invidious position regarding their choice of schools. It is certainly wrong according to the spirit, if not the letter, of the mandatory School Admissions Code,that does not allow schools to know in which order the parents have placed them on the form for admission purposes.  However, I am told it is legal and other Authorities (not Kent) also use it when parents appeal for a school place in March, It is possible that some schools which are their own admission authorities (including academies) may choose not to present the information to Independent Appeal Panels. If you are likely to have to appeal, you therefore have to consider order of preference on the Common Application Form much  more carefully than in previous years, as the school and appeal panel will now see all your preferences and be entitled to ask the reason for them.

Further, there is a section for you to provide the reason for applying to each school separately on the Form.  This used to be confidential to the school applied for and continues to be so, unless you appeal, when as it is on the common application form it is shared with all schools you are appealing to. Obviously if you put down strong reasons for applying to one school it may reflect badly on you if appealing for another! My advice is therefore clear. Do not put any entry in this section, unless you are applying on health grounds (or similar) on which you consider your child needs to attend a particular school, in which case you would also need to provide medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Otherwise, reasons are completely ignored for allocating places in the admission procedure as they do not form part of the criteria or rules by which places are allocated.

APPEALS

Your right to appeal is to a particular school, and so you must have applied for it on your SCAF. Medway & Kent parents have the right to apply for any additional school (including grammar schools) in April 2018, and if turned down to appeal. For Kent, you will need to use the In Year Admission process. For Medway, you probably need to go through the Council who also hold waiting lists for all the schools and  academies. The Medway process is often difficult and you may be initially told it is not possible. 
Grammar school appeals are likewise not against a non selective decision in general, but must be made for a named school. As a result, you must list any school you wish to appeal for on your SCAF. Sadly, you have to wait until National Offer day on 1st March before the school technically rejects your application and only then can you appeal.
This year the first appeals were heard in the last week of March (Medway tends to come first), the final ones not being heard until the middle of June.
 
GUIDANCE
 
It is difficult to give general guidance on placing schools in order, as circumstances change enormously from town to town depending on popularity of individual schools and their oversubscription rules. Above all, make sure that you and your child visit the schools you are considering.
  • For all oversubscribed schools find out if you would have been accepted last year. Ask for the distance from school the furthest pupil who was accepted lived. Many church schools admit children according to their level of church support. Find out which category of religious support was the lowest accepted.
  • Each Medway school and academy makes its own rules and you need to check these out carefully to find if you are likely to be offered a place.
  •  Check the rules about free school transport, which only apply if you live more than three miles from your nearest appropriate school, or for certain church schools (this is different from Kent where children only qualify if they live more than three miles from their nearest school without taking into account "appropriate". These rules are detailed in the School Admission Booklet for your LA. See the page on School Transport and Appeals. If applying for a grammar school, especially if you live on the Hoo Peninsula make sure you apply to the nearest grammar school somewhere on your list (even if you are unlikely to be offered a place there). If you are trying to secure free transport to one of the Chatham Grammar Schools you may need to appeal to the nearest (usually RGS or the Math, and be turned down to satisfy the Council that the Chatham Grammar is your nearest appropriate available. 
  • Try and make sure that you will be eligible for at least one school on your list, otherwise you will be allocated the nearest one with vacancies, which may not be to your liking.
  • Parents applying for secondary school places may be given a supplementary form “only where the additional information is required for the governing body to apply their oversubscription criteria to the application”. In Medway, this only applies to St John Fisher Catholic School. You are under no obligation to provide information which is not required for this purpose. No form should ask parents to state what preferences they have named on their SCAF, or the order in which they have stated their preferences, as no school requires this to apply its oversubscription criteria.
  • In Medway, 79% of children secured their first choice in March for entry in September 2018 (79% in 2017 & 84% in 2017). 
  • If not offered the school of your choice you can apply to go on the waiting list for any or all schools at which you have been turned down. Application forms sent with decision letter on 1st March. 
  • Both Kent and Medway have an on-line application system on which parents can change choices up to the closing date. Details of the Medway scheme can be found here. One concern for primary heads is that because they do not see these forms, they are unable to check if parents have made sensible decisions. Conversely, parents can hide decisions from the school, – valuable where certain primary schools strongly encourage certain applications. On-line applicants will be able to access decisions after 4 p.m. on 1st March. Paper applicants will receive decisions by post on 2nd March.
  • Most Medway secondary schools use nearness of homes to the school as measured by the nearest safe walking route determined by the Medway Council Geographical Information System. In a series of successful appeals in recent years, I have demonstrated that the application of this system can be flawed.
Friday, 20 March 2009 15:37

School Places KOS March 2009

This Kent On Sunday article is based on information I obtained from Kent County Council. The data in it has also been used by Radio Kent and Meridan TV.

A response to comments from Medway Council appears below.

 Kent County Council data shows there is a total of just 131 vacancies in Kent’s 33 grammar schools, mainly in the east of the county.  268 out county children are taking up places in West and North West Kent grammar schools, displacing many children from these areas eastwards some to grammar schools they cannot reach daily. More than 40 West Kent boys have been   offered places in Folkestone or Sittingbourne.    

 

The biggest influx is into the four Dartford grammar schools, with 29 children coming from as far as Greenwich and another 15 from Lewisham. Bromley took up 59 Kent grammar school places, Bexley another 56 and East Sussex 50.  

 

Most oversubscribed grammar school was Tonbridge (101 turned away), edging out Judd from last year (95). These were followed in order by Skinners, Dartford, Weald of Kent, Tunbridge Wells Boys, Maidstone, and Tunbridge Wells Girls. This year’s problem is highlighted by these eight schools which all turned away more than 40 first choices who had passed the 11+. Last year there were just three, the same top schools as this year.  

 

However, for the second year running the most oversubscribed school in the county is the Leigh Academy in Dartford, rejecting 200 first choice applicants.  

 

One striking feature of non selective school placements is the wide fluctuation in popularity from year to year. The biggest controversy in the county surrounds Valley Park School in South Maidstone, whose popularity has soared this year, turning away 106 first choices, up from 16 in 2008.  There are 85 children in the adjacent areas who have been offered none of their four choices. Other non selective schools rejecting more than 60 first choices are: Folkestone Academy (newly rebuilt); Homewood (Tenterden); Bennett Memorial (Tunbridge Wells);  Westlands (Sittingbourne), Charles Dickens (Broadstairs), North School (Ashford), Archbishops’ (Canterbury); Aylesford (rebuilt under PFI and not even full last year); Mascalls (Paddock Wood) and Fulston Manor (Sittingbourne). Only half these schools were in the list last year showing how difficult it is to predict popularity.

 

At the other end of the scale, four schools were over half empty before children unsuccessful in any of their applications were allocated to them.

 

Kent’s Academies present a very mixed picture.  Cornwallis,  Folkestone and Leigh are all heavily oversubscribed. The other six, mainly with new buildings still to arrive, have a total of 328 vacancies between them before some pupils who had not applied to them, were allocated places by KCC . 

 

Following my campaign through the national media, Medway Council has changed its policy of not allowing late applicants for grammar schools entrance to apply for the 95 spaces in Chatham grammar schools.  Only two weeks ago Council officers were telling enquirers that there was no facility for late testing, but now the grammar schools have laid on additional open days and been overwhelmed by enquiries from Kent parents unable to get into oversubscribed Kent schools. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 Following a comment by Medway Council on this article, I have written the following letter to KOS.

I was fascinated that Medway Council claimed in last week’s KOS that late testing for Medway grammar school places has been available for several years rather than introduced in the middle of this year’s admission process following media pressure, as I believe.

Perhaps the person who gave the statement did not know that Medway’s own prospectus states that late testing can only take place in exceptional circumstances; that it is not even mentioned in the legal document that sets out Medway’s admission procedure; that when the Council commented on the media debate I initiated they were solely concerned with defending the status quo and forgot to mention this central issue; that parents were consistently told last year there was no provision for late testing; that when I contacted grammar schools early in March they were not aware of the change in procedure; and that one of my clients living in Kent contacted the Council offices two weeks ago and was told that there was no such procedure.

However the good news is that the Council has indeed bowed to that pressure and some Kent children allocated to inaccessible grammar schools will now be able to take up the vacant spaces previously barred to them if they now take and pass the Medway selective tests. 

Published in Newspaper Articles
Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00

Kent Admission & Appeals Statistics

 

Kent Test Results for 2011 entry.

  2011 2010
Registered for Admission 11542 11987
Took Kent Test 10947 11255
Kent Assessed Grammar 4120 4139
Out of County Assessed Grammar 1156 930

 

Secondary school transfer statistics released by Kent County Council.

 

 

Kent Pupils
2010
2009
2008
No. of pupils
No. of pupils
%
No. of pupils
%
No. of pupils
Offered a school named on the application form
15,270
96.1%
15,504
95.5%
15,396
95%
Offered a first preference
12,725
80.1%
12,769
78.5%
11,508
70.5%
Offered a second preference
1,753
11.0%
1,850
11.5%
2,750
17%
Offered a third preference
595
3.7%
640
4%
1,138
7%
Offered a fourth preference
197
1.2%
245
1.5%
N/A
N/A
Allocated by Local Authority
620
3.9%
773
4.5%
840
5.5%
Total number of Kent pupils offered
15,890
16,277
16,236

 

Year
2010
2009
2008
Out of County Applicants
1,532
1,554
1,795
Out of County Offers
532
521
556

 

Year
2010
2009
2008
Total Numbers of Pupils in the Cohort
17,422
17,831
18,134

 

 

 

11 Plus news 2010 Entry 

The source of the data on this page is Kent County Council. My thanks for their co-operation in this.

Category               2009 entry 2010 entry change
  Number Number Number

Kent Entrants

9249

9418

-101

OutCounty Entrants

1992

2107

+115

Success Boys

2588

2561

-27

Success Girls

2549

2552

+3

Success Kent

4039

4120

+81

OutCounty Success

1098

993

-105

So, of the 11,255 children who sat the Kent Test in September, 5,113 were assessed selective, roughly the same number as last year (11,241). The number of out of county children sitting the test rose by 115, the number of Kent children fell by 101 reflecting a lower number in the age group. However, the number of Kent children passing is up by 81 to 4,120, whilst the number of out county children passing is down by 105 to 993.  

There are 4,458 grammar school places in Kent, so if only Kent children were taking them up, there would be 338 spare places, nearly all in the East of the County. The great unknown is how many out of county children will take up Kent places, as many of them have multiple applications across different counties and Boroughs.

My sense of these figures is - little change. 

Kent Transfer Appeal Statistics  2009
 
LEA or Community Schools
 
 
School Type Number of Appeals Number of                 Successes % Success Rate
Grammar  391  167  43
 NonSelective  158  99  63
 Primary  367  36  10

Please note that the large majority of successful primary appeals would be for junior classes, as Infant appeals are governed by Infant Class Legislation (see Primary admissions page).

Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools  

 

School Type Number of Appeals Number of                 Successes % Success Rate
Grammar  562  201  36
 NonSelective  215 104  48
 Primary 82 Not known  

In addition there are a number of schools that do not use KCC Appeal Panels. Statistics are not available for these. 

Statistics vary enormously school by school. For grammar schools the proportion of successes range from  76%  of 33 appeals (an LEA school) down to 7% of 108 appeals (a Foundation School). For non selective schools, there were five schools where all appeals were succcessful, but one Foundation school with just 10% of 20 appeals successful.

Kent Secondary Transfer Statistics 2009 entry

There was  a total of just 131 vacancies in Kent’s 33 grammar schools, at National Offer Day in 2009  mainly in the east of the county.  The problem is that the 268 out county children who took up places in West and North West Kent Grammar schools displaced many children from these areas eastwards, some to grammar schools they cannot reach daily, with more than 40 boys West Kent boys offered places in Folkestone or Sittingbourne. 

The biggest influx is into the four Dartford grammar schools with 29 children coming from Greenwich and another 15 from Lewisham. Bromley took up 59 Kent grammar school places, Bexley another 56 and East Sussex 50.

Most oversubscribed grammar school was Tonbridge (101 turned away), edging out Judd from last year (95). These were followed by Skinners, Dartford, Weald of Kent, Tunbridge Wells Boys, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells Girls. This year’s problem is highlighted by these eight schools who all turned away more than 40 qualified first choices. Last year there were just three, the same top schools as last year.

However, for the second year running the most oversubscribed school in the county is the Leigh Academy in Dartford, rejecting 200 first choice applicants.

One striking feature of non selective school placements is the wide fluctuation in popularity from year to year. I think the biggest controversy in the county surrounds Valley Park School in South Maidstone, whose popularity has soared this year, turning away 106 first choices, up from 16 in 2008.  Other non selective schools rejecting more than 60 first choices are: Folkestone Academy (newly rebuilt); Homewood (Tenterden); Bennett Memorial (Tunbridge Wells);  Westlands (Sittingbourne), Charles Dickens (Broadstairs), North (Ashford), Archbishops’ (Canterbury); Aylesford (rebuilt under PFI and not even full last year); Mascalls (Paddock Wood) and Fulston Manor (Sittingbourne). Only half these schools were in this list last year showing how difficult it is to predict popularity.

At the other end of the scale, four schools were over half empty before children unsuccessful in any of their applications were allocated to them.

Kent Test Statistics for 2009 Entry

9584 Kent pupils registered for the Kent Tests, with a further 2096 out of county.

Of these, 9294 Kent pupils took the tests, with an additional 1765 from out of county.

4213 Kent pupils were assessed selective, that is 45% of those who took the tests. 924 out of county pupils were assessed selective.

53% of the 1459 cases referred for a Headteacher Assessment were successful and are included in the above data.

There are 16297 children in the cohort,so that 21% were automatically found selective, with a further 4% after Headteacher Assessment, making a total of 26% of the cohort found selective.

The number of children who pased the test was up by 250 and there are 600 more successful candidates than there are Kent grammar school places. However, a large number of these are from outside the county with no intention or expectation of taking up a Kent grammar school place, and I understand that the  number of out of county pupils offered grammar school places in Kent is likely to be very similar to last year.

The out of county applicants were mainly from Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham, Medway and East Sussex (in order). The more distant ones include: Barking, West Sussex, Islington, Dorset, Milton Keynes, Leicestershire and Glamorgan (although many of the latter may be  families planning to relocate to Kent).

 Kent Secondary Transfer Appeal Statistics 2008

LEA or Community Schools

School type Number of Appeals Number of successes % success rate
Grammar 456 184 40
Non Selective 126 68 54

Foundation or Voluntary Aided Schools

These are appeals organised by the KCC for these schools. Many Foundation and VA Schools organise their own appeals and I do not have data for these. 

School Type Number of Appeals Number of successes % success rate
Grammar 540 143 26
Non-Selective 185 101 55

Note: these statistics hide a multitude of sins. One LEA Grammar school had 55 succsssful appeals, others have very few. Grammar School appeals include both selection appeals (where the child do not pass the Kent test, and oversubscription appeals (where many appellants may have pased the Kent tests and be seeking a place in schools that are full). 

I have focused on first choices for simplicity; the number of children on waiting lists may vary considerably from this. For example, many of those who put a grammar school in first place may also now be on the waiting list for a non selective school but won't appear in the statistics below, so the number on waiting lists for non selective schools can be considerably higher than indicated. After grammar school appeals, some of these numbers will fall as children on the lists are offered grammar school places.

Not one of the 34 most westerly secondary schools in Kent had more than three vacancies after allocation on 3rd March (these are probably all taken up by children with SEN statements). The situation will of course change, as some children will have been allocated to schools they will not take up, others will win appeals elsewhere freeing up places, or Independent Appeal Panels require some schools to take additional children.
Kent grammar schools that still have vacancies include: Borden Grammar, Chatham House Grammar, Clarendon House Grammar, Dane Court Grammar, Dover Grammar Boys, Folkestone School for Girls, Harvey Grammar, Highsted Grammar. Others may well have children who have not taken up places offered and so have vacancies. It is a matter of note that all those on this list are coastal grammar schools in East Kent.
  • 9 Kent schools have over 40 vacancies. Several others would have reached this figure if they had not been allocated children who had been offered none of their three chosen schools.
  • 2 Kent schools have more than half their available places still empty.
  • 9092 children took the Kent test, of whom 3778 were assessed as selective, including those who were passed at headteacher assessment.
  • 762 children from outside Kent were assessed as selective, having included a Kent grammar school on their Common Application Form. These would have come mainly from Medway, East Sussex, Surrey, Bexley and Bromley. Of these, 290 were offered places at Kent grammar schools, which would have been mainly at Judd, Skinners, Tonbridge Grammar, and the four Dartford and Wilmington Grammar Schools, adding to the pressure on West Kent grammar school places. Next year's new Dartford Grammar admission criteria will add to the pressure.
  • In 2007, 41% of pupils attending Tunbridge Wells secondary schools were from outside the district, 600 from outside Kent. The corresponding figure for Tonbridge and Malling was 42%.
  • KCC report that this year's eleven year old cohort is the largest and that in future, falling rolls will decrease the pressure.
  • The Year 6 cohort in March 2008 comprised 16,339 Kent pupils (15,975 in 2007).
    94% were offered a place at one of the schools named on the CAF as at 3 March 2008 (94%).

    There was a total of 2,126 (1,807) secondary transfer appeal for 2008 entry, of which 800 (759) were successful. This is a total of 37% of appeals heard. This statistic covers a wide range according to individual schools.

The headline news for Kent is that the number of children who were  allocated their first choice secondary school in March has fallen to 70% from 74% last year, whilst the number of out county applicants has increased from 1589 to 1795. The number of children who have been offered a school not on their list has risen from 4% to 5%.

The Kent test pass mark was the same as the previous year: children need to achieve two scores of at least 120 and one of at least 115 to achieve success, or be awarded a place through the headteacher assessment. Out of some 1200 assessments carried out, around half were successful.

Figures for Kent Appeals, March - December 2007. The following figures are solely for appeal Panels organised by KCC. Many Foundation and VA Schools organise their own Independent Appeal Panels and are not included. Be very careful how you interpret the following, as circumstances very enormously amongst Kent schools (it was ever thus!). The secondary school success rate varies enormously year on year, so is unlikely to be a good guide to 2008, especially with the new Code.

 In 2008 there were 55 successful appeals at Clarendon house Grammar School, which is likely to skew figures enormously.

Local Authority Schools

 

Appeals

Successes

% success

Grammar

633

295

47

Non-Selective

34

17

50

       

 Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools

 

Appeals

Successes

% Success

Grammar

414

173

42

Non Selective

70

47

67

 In 2007, there were 1300 Headteacher Assessments in Kent, of which 632 were successful.


Figures for Kent Appeals, March - December 2007. The following figures are solely for appeal Panels organised by KCC. Many Foundation and VA Schools organise their own Independent Appeal Panels and are not included. Be very careful how you interpret the following, as circumstances very enormously amongst Kent schools (it was ever thus!). The secondary school success rate is over a third higher than the previous year, for reasons which are not obvious and so is unlilely to be a good guide to 2008, especially with the new Code.
Local Authority Schools

 

 
Appeals
Successes
% success
Grammar
633
295
47
Non Selective
34
17
17
Primary
218
73
33
 
Grammar Appeals include both children who have been unsuccessful in the initial tests, and oversubscription issues.

Foundation & Voluntary Aided Schools

 

 
Appeals
Successes
% success
Grammar
414
173
42
Non-selective
70
47
67
Primary
32
9
28
  • Scores for a Kent grammar school pass were: at least 120 in two tests, and at least 115 in the third.
  • 74% of Kent children were offered their first choice school in 2007. this is a considerable fall from last year's 79%. however, the percentage of children being offered one of their three choices has risen from 95% to 96.1 %.
Monday, 13 July 2015 19:34

Kent Secondary School Admissions 2019

Index

Last Updated: June 2018

Please note that this section is rather lengthy, and hence is spread across several pages. You will find the links below.

It is designed primarily for parents resident in Kent, whose children will be transferring to state secondary schools in September 2019. Parents considering a grammar school application should also look at the pages on Kent and Medway Grammar School Admissions and Medway Secondary School Admissions.

Kent Schools

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

There is more information, advice and comment on the School Admission Code page. You may also find an article I wrote in September 2014 helpful. 

For admissions you may well find my telephone consultation service useful. I also give talks for parents at several Kent primary and secondary schools by invitation, and am also happy to talk with groups of parents, as well as individuals. 

You will find the full details of the Kent Secondary transfer scheme on the KCC website here (secondary determined scheme for 2018), together with next year's oversubscription and admission rules for community and voluntary aided schools here, and individual Foundation, Voluntary Aided Schools and academies here where, in the Spring of 2018 you will also find any proposed changes for individual schools for 2019.  A more readable online booklet sets out the full rules together with relating to admissions including residence rules, assessment for grammar school, applying for Kent schools if you live outside the county, school offers, late applications and In Year admissions, transport including the Young Persons' Travel Pass. Unfortunately, at the time of writing the 2019 online Admissions Booklet  will not be posted until September, but you will find 2018 here     

For parents applying for any school in Kent outside the normal admission round, including late applications after 1st March when you can put in an application for any Kent secondary school you have not previously considered, simply download an In Year Casual Application Form and send it to the school you are applying to. You will find further details here. This does not apply in the same way in Medway.
 
You will find a simple comparative guide at www.192.com with my own information on individual schools here (some pages need updating, let me know if you are interested in one of these and I will update it next)
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