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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:22 pm
Posts: 526
Location: Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells
Hi there

Just received feedback from KCC re the FOI request question about Kent school children being "displaced" from their "local grammar schools" because of superselectives admissions policies in West Kent.

The original FOI question was:

How many children are there in the current Year 7 at Grammar school (i.e. 2009 intake) who:

* live in Kent and
* passed the Kent 11+ and
* scored lower than the cut-off for TOGS, Skinners or Judd and
* travel an unacceptable length of time to grammar school (i.e. more than 1 hour each way) and
* were unsuccessful on both waiting lists and appeals for a closer
grammar school and
* would ordinarily have a shorter journey to TOGS, Skinners or
Judd

In a nutshell what I'm trying to find out is how many West Kent children (i.e. those living in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks) having passed the 11+ were given a Grammar school place far from where they live because out of area (i.e. outside West Kent), and/or out of county (i.e. those from East Sussex etc) children took the places in the superselectives of West Kent (i.e. TOGS, Skinners or Judd).


The FOI answer from KCC was given as:

On 2 March 2009, the Authority allocated places to children assessed suitable for admission to a Kent grammar school, who could not be offered a place at any school applied for on their Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF) as follows -

85 children (assessed G) who live in the selective scheme of education area in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks were allocated a place at a grammar school not named on their SCAF. The grammar schools allocated to these pupils were:

* Invicta Grammar School (Maidstone),
* The Grammar School for Girls Wilmington (Wilmington),
* Oakwood Park Grammar School (Maidstone),
* The Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone),
* and Borden Grammar School (Sittingbourne).

Some of these pupils may have named super selective grammar schools in the area but because of the oversubscription criteria of the individual schools there were children from further away (including outside of Kent) having a greater eligibility for a school place at those schools.


Any comments welcomed...

Regards, Villagedad


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:28 pm 
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The answer refers to 2 March allocations so presumably does not answer your question which asked for this information after appeals and waiting lists had been exhausted.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:59 pm 
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It does suggest that there could be a problem, but as it is only 85 West Kent children (both boys and girls are included in this number) it does not look as though by the time waiting lists and appeals had been sorted that many children would have been affected.

Of course, for those remaining children, if any, it would be really bad. We still haven't heard of them through this website though --- but then of course this website presumably only reaches a v. small proportion of Kent grammar families.

However, is this the tip of the iceberg or not? What are the projections for grammar places needed over the next few years? Is the 85 likely to increase in future years to a point where waiting lists and appeals will not absorb the problem?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:41 pm
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Location: Gravesend, Kent
I think 85 sounds rather a lot! Simply because that's 85 extremely stressed families. I hope that many got in through the waiting list or through appeals.
Also, this specifically refers to Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. I wonder if the numbers would be much bigger if the whole of Kent was analysed? Dartford and Gravesham have pressure on their Grammar places from London Boroughs.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:03 pm 
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I agree totally IPP.

Also as previously mentioned on this forum some of the children who were deemed selective apparently ended up going to non selective local schools either because this is what they were offered ( because apparently KCC regards the top stream of some of the comprehensives to be of a GS standard according to our HT) and/ or because they didn't want to go through the appeal process and didn't want to face the prospective of a ridiculously long journey to school It would be interesting to know how many children fell into this category


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:05 pm 
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I know two girls in the Tunbridge Wells area (around 2 1/2 miles from TWGGS) who were offered Maidstone Grammars instead of TWGGS in the initial allocations. Both started at TWGGS in September, so that's two off the 85. But it was v stressful for the families and I understand, as a back up position, they got places at Beacon in Crowborough rather than send the girls to and from Maidstone every day.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:28 pm
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Location: Tunny Wells
I know of 8 of the 85 who all live in a village 3 miles outside Tunny Wells and were all given Invicta in March. Fotunately all of them got local grammars, TWGGS, TGS or Weald during waiting list or appeal. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:41 pm 
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Just trying to get my head around whether we asked the right question under FOI (blame me if we didn't). Twinkle has pointed out that there could be children assessed G who went to non-selectives because they could not get place at grammar school, and these will not be covered in the 85 mentioned in the OP quote from KCC's response to the FOI question.

Just going away to read the admissions booklet and think again.

Don't know if this is of any interest, but this is what happened at Weald of Kent for admission to the current Year 7:


"Last year 158 students from the Sevenoaks area named us on their SCAF
forms. Of these, 74 were offered a place on the first round.
All families who applied to go on the waiting list from within that
category were successful in obtaining a place without going through an
Appeal process
Prior to last year I was usually able to offer all bar 2 or 3 students a
place from the waiting list.
Last year the situation was completely different. I was unable to offer
any places to those within categories C,D and E and as a result I had 57
Allocation Appeals of which 19 were successful."


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:04 pm 
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Have had my further think about this.

There are four spaces on the Kent SCAF. So it is quite likely that there are people who although their child had a G assessment, will have put grammars and non-selectives on the SCAFs in order to have a fall-back non-selective close to home should they not have high enough score for super-selective, and live too far from the grammar schools that year to be admitted in the first round.

So in addition to the 85 mentioned in the response from KCC, there could be children who could not be offered grammar school place at schools on their SCAF, but were offered a place on 2 March at a non-selective on their SCAF.

The question we asked under FOI did not cover this, so need to ask an additional question if we want to know how many children that was.

The 85 mentioned in the KCC response who were offered places at the more distant grammar schools mentioned were offered these places because the schools on their SCAFS (both grammar and non-grammar) were "full" as at 1 March.

It shows that those other grammar schools listed are not oversubscribed as they were able to offer places on 1 March to children who had not named them 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th on the Kent SCAF. These children were not offered them because it was the closest grammar school with space at that date, but because they were the closest school with space at that date
and it was possible to offer them to those children as they had a G assessment. If a closer non-selective had space, they would have received an offer of a place at that school.

This is just the way the Kent admission system operates - no judgement is intended about whether schools are "equivalent" in the top sets to a grammar school or not, just a mathematical and logical method of allocating places.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:54 pm 
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mystery wrote:

These children were not offered them because it was the closest grammar school with space at that date, but because they were the closest school with space at that date
and it was possible to offer them to those children as they had a G assessment. If a closer non-selective had space, they would have received an offer of a place at that school.



Mystery - I broadly agree with your analysis - but am not sure whether this part is entirely correct. I think that if a child ( who had passed) had put down three GS plus a non selective then they would have been offered the non selective if the first three had been full. However if the child had only put down 3 GS and no fourth choice then surely that child would have been offered a place at the next nearest GS with spaces. Only if there were no GS places available would that child be offered a place at the nearest non selective school with spaces. Equally if child ( who has passed) had put 3 GS preferences followed by a non selective and all four schools were full KCC would first try to place the child in the nearest GS with spaces before allocating a non selective school. It is in these scenarios however that I think KCC has deemed the top streams of certain comprehensives as "Grammar equivalent". I may be wrong, but I think that's how it would work.


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