My dd is taking the Kent test in Sept and due to her nature I have no idea how she will do, she will either do brilliantly or dive!
Last yr we looked at possible schools for her. With my eldest I did the usual traipsing around in yr6 and it's ridiculous, packed and stressful. For my youngest I needed to show her what's out there if she was willing to put in the effort - basically she wanted to attend her sister's grammar without lifting a finger to get there. Hence the need to look at the schools a year early.
Living on the borders of Bexley and Dartford means we can consider both boroughs for schooling so she will be doing the Kent test as a back-up to the Bexley Test.
Ok, back to your questions.
Firstly Dartford Tech, we did not visit this school but I do know somebody who worked there. The feedback I have is that it is disappointing, there are low standards in discipline and uniform, and the grades are lowish but then the school is sandwiched between the grammars. But is better than our local sink schools - well it has to be! I will be visiting it this year.
Dartford Grammar - very impressive building although slightly claustrophobic and we got the impression that the girls are there to work, work, work. Not that there's anything wrong with that but I'm concerned about the level of pushiness. I'm all for encouragement but I got the distinct impression that it's A* all down the line. Well what about the girls who just pass the 11+ - would it be too much for them? The art is magnificent. The swimming pool is a bonus but how often would they use it considering the kids nowadays don't want so much as a raindrop to touch their poker straightened hair!
Wilmington Grammar - I drove past this school 3 years ago when I was looking for my eldest. I didn't like the look of it. Well how stupid of me!
This is a smaller school but seems to offer everythig it needs to. It's got a more rural feel - well it would have - it's in the country - d'oh!
The school has a family feel, you get the imression that everyone would know eveyone else. The facilities are excellent, very good with computers and maths. The donwside is the English dept which is across the road in a tudor looking building. When we visited the classrooms were not inspiring at all, in fact, dull. There were bare floorboards, it wasn't a new trendy look! The displays were years old - I'm not just saying this as the work was dated. It reminded me of the inside of the school house in Little House on the Prairie!
How can you get the best out of kids with an environment like that? Having said that the rest of the school was very good and they migh have plans for the English department.
On balance, I would say all schools that you are possibly interested in must be visited twice.
The other thing to consider is what is on offer at 6th form level. Dartford Grammar has the edge here. There is also the 'snob' value. There's no other way to say it but Dartford Grammar IS impressive but is it right for my child? I 'm not sure. Maybe Wilmington is more for her if we can just get the Eng dept sorted.
Hope this info helps, it would be nice to hear from parents with their girls at one of these three schools.