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 2255, and non-selective appeals from 678 to 867. 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 Kent grammar school appeals in 2019 are led this year by Highsted at 86% of appeals upheld, followed by Simon Langton Girls at 70%, and Maidstone Girls Grammar at 66%.
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).
Please Note that I am no longer able to offer individual advice on admissions or appeals. There is copious advice and information via the links in the Panels to the right.
I am very grateful to all the 70 schools (some via KCC) which held appeals, that have sent me responses.
Follow the links to find my general appeal information and advice for Kent Grammars, Medway Grammars, and oversubscription for grammars and non-selectives. Other recent articles include Medway Test outcomes for 2020 admission (Kent still to come, but 2019 data here) and Kent GCSE results 2018 (this year’s outcomes still awaited and will be published here).
Most Kent secondary schools are Academies, Foundation or Voluntary Aided schools, with the right to choose their Appeal Panel provider. The grammar school split has been roughly equal between Panels provided by KCC and other providers for some years, although more non-selective schools are now choosing KCC Panels. It is my observation that the Independence of Panels is declining in the sense that they are more closely following the wishes of schools in terms of numbers of appeals upheld, possibly to ensure retention of their contracts.
|Kent & Medway School Appeals 2019|
|Number of Schools||Heard||Upheld||
You will find outcomes of all individual secondary school appeal outcomes for Kent here and Medway here including nearly all for 2019. Several pages are out of date because of pressure on time but I am happy to update appeal data if requested. The second of two articles on appeal outcomes in 2017 is here. I don’t collect details of Reception appeals for the small number of individual primary schools, that organise their own appeals, as success rates are likely to be equally low because of Infant Class Legislation.
Whilst many schools will tend to see similar patterns year on year, circumstances for individual schools can change sharply, as can be seen from the Individual Schools tables, with some examples below, including the first two cited.
Simon Langton Girls continues to see a high rate of success with 31 out of 44 appeals being upheld, the second highest rate for a grammar school in Kent. Add this to Canterbury girls having the by far the highest rate of successful Headteacher Assessments for either gender in any District at 14% of the total roll, which results in by some way the largest proportion of pupils who had not been found successful through the Kent Test being accepted into grammar school. At Barton Court, the third and mixed grammar there were 64 appeals all for children initially deemed non-selective, 12 were upheld, and another 26 were found selective, but were placed on a waiting list as the Panel considered there was not enough room.
Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham (mixed), continues to draw pupils not only from Faversham but Whitstable and the villages towards Canterbury and Sittingbourne. The school has a different pattern of appeals being upheld to that of most oversubscribed grammar schools. Each year around half of the 33 appeals heard are from children already found selective, half of the total being upheld, and half of the successes come from children who had not been found selective under the Kent Test. For 2019, 45% of appeals were upheld.
Highsted Grammar (girls) saw the highest rate of success at appeal in a Kent grammar schools at 86%, with 19 out of 22 appeals being upheld, on top of the Highsted Test which saw an additional 29 girls found of grammar school ability over and above those found selective through the Kent Test. The equivalent boys’ school in Sittingbourne, Borden Grammar School, also had a high level of success with 61% of the 38 appelas being successful.
Harvey Grammar continues low with 14% of appeals being upheld.
Appeal Outcomes at Dartford
Grammars in 2019
Appeal Panels at both Gravesend grammar schools appear to favour local children at appeal. Gravesend Grammar had 64 appeals for boys, with 15 upheld, all from Kent, 10 of whom had previously been unsuccessful in the Kent Test. Mayfield Grammar saw 16 of its 44 appeals for girls upheld, 11 not having previously been found selective.
|West Kent Appeals 2019|
Medway Grammar Appeals 2019
|Sir Joseph Williamson||46||15||33%|
*Chatham Girls data for 2018, with 2019 results awaited.
In total 32 non-Selective schools held appeals across Kent and Medway, 21 using KCC Panels (up from 18 in 2018), with 27% of appeals being upheld.
There are few common factors in any of these sets of appeals, as they reflect individual school and locality circumstances, so I suggest you consult the data for Individual Schools for details.
The most pressured districts are Thanet and Maidstone. In Thanet, where four of the six schools are heavily oversubscribed as many families try and avoid the other two, there were just 17% successful overall, although many families will have made multiple appeals. St George’s CofE Foundation School, the second most oversubscribed non-selective school in Kent saw 12 appeals upheld out of 65.
|Thanet Non-Selective Appeals 2019|
|St George’s CofE||65||12||18%|
The depth of concern in Thanet can be seen by the large number of appeals to get into Charles Dickens School every year, although it was in Special Measures until taken over last year. Hartsdown and Royal Harbour schools have the lowest Progress 8 GCSEs in the County for 2019, with Charles Dickens not far behind, being fifth lowest.
In Maidstone, there is also considerable polarisation of popularity amongst the non-selective schools. All six with appeals held these using KCC Panels. Valley Park, the most oversubscribed non-selective, had just five appeals upheld out of 59.
|Maidstone Non-Selective Appeals|
|St Simon Stock Catholic||13||1||8%|
St Simon Stock Catholic School with its single appeal upheld, at least had a better rate of success than the two previous years, which saw none successful. Lenham School, with Special Measures cancelled by academisation under the Valley Invicta Trust, was the only school with 100% of appeals upheld, although Westlands ran it close with 98%, just one of the 52 appellants losing out.
Other schools where it was difficult to win an appeal were: Brockhill Park (1 out of 19); St George’s CofE, Gravesend (1 out of 22); Bennett Memorial (3 out of 39); Fulston Manor (6 out of 76); all with a lower than 10% success rate.
There were a number of schools with no appeals upheld, often with small numbers of appeals: Hugh Christie (0 out of 1); Malling (0 out of 11); John Wallis (0 out of 5); and Wye (0 out of 5).
Source: Kent Educational advice
Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes: 2019