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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:57 am
Posts: 3
Hi there,

We're about to move to Kent, having made 'the big move' from London (well, sort of, via Switzerland too but that's the longer version...) and I'm being tied up in knots about whether we've made the right decision, a half-right decision, or an altogether bad decision.

The house we're buying does not appear to fall within any grammar school catchment area, as it is in Matfield. My children are still young (too embarrassed to tell you quite how much forward planning we're talking about here... ;) ) but we're both slightly apprehensive that in a 'worst case scenario' re. the economy, moving in a few years time to within a grammar catchment might not be viable, if prices have dropped as much as the doomsayers predict.

Am I right in thinking that being in this area, unless we got into a 'super selective', we'd be looking at a comprehensive? I'm also wondering how ridiculous it would be to consider sending them to a private school for primary in the hope that this would help on that front, although to plan to try to get them into a super-selective just sounds like a recipe for a long-term headache to me.

I think what's happening is I'm going over all the 'what ifs' at this point because we're about to make a huge commitment to a new house, and of course that brings it all to the surface. Partly I am trying not to worry about it too much, DH and I were both fairly good at school and half of me doesn't want to become too obsessed about it. Although here I am, several years in advance, posting about it online.... :D


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 261
Hi IClaudia

I'm moving to Maidstone in a couple of weeks. I am not a site veteran and I'm sure that lots of people will be along to offer you some friendly advice.
My two cents is that I would look through the secondary admissions booklet https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/education-and-learning/school-education/finding%20the%20right%20school/Admissions/adm-sec-book-12.pdf

In particular, to begin with, look at the map on page 6. Decide where Matfield is on that map. To do so accurately will probably involve a call and an email request to Kent Council's secondary admissions team.
The 'scheme of education' can have implications for your child's application to the school in terms of its oversubscription criteria


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:46 am
Posts: 421
Welcome to the site! i'm very sure you will get lots of very very advice from people here who have been through the process many times and had lots of experiences.
I for one would encourage you (if, like you say, your children are young) to try not to get to caught up with the whole 11+ thing too early. I know that easy for me to say, but having been through it 3 times (two took it, one we went comp through choice), soon to be 4, it does kind of take over in the later years, so any years 11+ free, are happy days :lol:
We are lucky in west kent to have a variety of good schools, not just Grammar so dont panic yet. Remember too, if your children are young you may not even know if they would be suited to the 11+.
my advice would be, keep on board with this site for up to date info (I will PM you another site) and enjoy your new home. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:43 pm
Posts: 523
Location: Twells
I think that in Matfield you are in the Mascalls catchment area, which is a comprehensive school in Paddock Wood. I don't know much about the school but parents I know with a child there have been very pleased with it. Grammar wise you probably are looking at super-selectives, and there are also good church schools in Tunbridge Wells if you are that way inclined.

But it sounds like you have a long time before you have to think about all that!:) In the meantime Welcome to Kent!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 2439
Welcome to the Garden of England, and this forum. I hope the move is going well and you settle in soon.

Do you have any specific questions about the 11+, Kent eduation, schools etc?

The Kent Test (as the 11+ is formally known in Kent) comprises of three parts - maths, verbal-reasoning (VR) and non-verbal-reasoning (NVR). There is also a written piece used in borderline cases. The exam is taken in September of year 6 and pupils have to register for it the year before.

Many parents 'coach' their chidlren to help them through the test (state schools are not allow to prepare for this test :? ). There are two routes used - employ a tutor or the parent helps the child. There are arguments for and against for both, and it comes down finally to individual circumstances and preferences. Most people coach through year 5, some start in year 4.

Of course, if you have a few years to the test, then the above may change so keep an eye on this site.

Also, many state schools seem slightly ignorant of the whole process and can discourage people from doing it. Others are open and helpful. Some parents can be secretive about their preparations also.

IF you children are young, please don't panic yet. Just ensure that your child is reading well, learning times-tables etc (appropriate to their age). Children develop at different ages so a reluctant reader aged five maybe be the next JK Rowling age 10.

You've come to the right site for answers. Any questions, please feel free to post. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:43 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:57 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for the welcome. I am definitely feeling 'at sea' regarding my children's education in general, on the one hand thinking 'get a grip woman it's years off yet'; on the other thinking 'hang on, we moved to Kent from London "for the schools" so why are we buying a house which isn't in the perfect catchment for the best schools?'

I can answer the second question in that frankly, when we started looking 'by catchment' I didn't like any of the houses available in our price bracket, probably partly because what you get for the money isn't as much. I'm also unsure about state vs private. We all want the best for our children and sometimes I start to think that means private, but then I started investigating the local private schools and somehow am not sure I want my children growing up in such a privileged setting; with no real knowledge of the real world. I find it hard to talk about all of this because of course what is right for one parent isn't necessarily right for another, and it feels as though to express a preference one way or another is to criticise another's choices.

Both my husband and I were both very academic at school, so I think there's at least a good chance that one or both of my girls will be too. By no means guaranteed, but I guess whatever choice we make even at primary level once we arrive, I want them to have the freedom to be whoever they want to be - whether that's academic or not.

I'll look over this information again in more detail when I have time. Interestingly the map cited on penguin's link shows a frustratingly basic map of the catchments for various schools, but at first glance it appears that Matfield wouldn't fall into the comprehensive catchment. Why can't they show a proper ****** map so it's obvious?!!! :D

Thanks again for replies so far. Will be back later.

ETA: "Both my husband and I were both very academic at school" - HA, you wouldn't think so with grammar like that! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
Posts: 3664
A friend of mine lives in Pembury which is a few miles from Matfield ( I think ...I'm sure I've driven through it when her road was closed ) and her son will be going to Tunbridge Wells Grammar ( if he passes ) and of course there are a few super selectives and a very good Faith School in Tun. Wells too. Mascalls in Paddock Wood is an all ability school which is always oversubscribed...with children trying to get in from miles away ...Matfield would probably be ok.

If you have come on here, and are thinking how to help your girls with their education then I shouldn't worry ...some of us have children at weak schools and they've still made it in the end. As Tonbridge Mum says ..try not to worry too much... if it's years ahead the whole system might have changed by then ....and those early years are so special when you look back.I wish I was still making play dough creatures . :)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
I'm always the odd one out. If you don't want to be moving again in maybe three years time, I'd look for something now that's not in the Kent comprehensive area unless you like Mascalls. I don't know anything about Mascalls - it might be great, in which case go for it. If you look at some of the grammar results they are not that great, and top stream in a good comp could be better!!

Yes the Kent map is rubbish, and loads of people end up thinking they are in a "grammar area" when they are not.

Do you know yet whether you have girls or boys (suspecting your children might not have been born yet!!)?

If girls, Tonbridge would give you a good choice of schools on your doorstep ........ Weald of Kent for an ordinary pass, Tonbridge Grammar for Girls if they get a superselective score. Judd is a boys super-selective in Tonbridge. Fast trains into London. The non-selectives are well thought of too. And it's a shortish school journey to Tunbridge Wells for more grammars and non-selectives. Rubbish commute to London from Tunbridge Wells.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
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(suspecting your children might not have been born yet!!) :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
Posts: 2083
Location: Maidstone
In reality I think almost every child in Kent who passes gets a grammar place in the end. It may be after allocation, but still they do. I would be interested to know if someone knows a child who passed 11+ in Kent and didn't get a place even from the waiting list? Most parents just hate the idea of uncertainty on allocation but really I wouldn't worry about it. Enjoy Matfield.

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Impossible is Nothing.


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