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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:24 am 
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I know this problem has been mentioned already on another topic, but feel it warrants its own "topic" please:

There are many of us in the Riverhead, Sevenoaks area (and I imagine further afield in Kent?) that have sons who have passed the 11+ with marks of 413 and below,but have been offered the non-selective Knole Academy, as there are no grammar places left in West Kent. Atlhough the Knole Academy is very good ,what is the point of putting our sons through the tests, congratulating them on being selected for a grammar education, but then having to inform them on Thursday that they had been allocated a school where they could have gone anyway without doing the test at all? We feel very let down as we have placed the 3 nearest grammars to us (Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, The Judd School and The Skinners School) on the list. We have followed all instructions/booklet sent home from Kent CC via primary school to the letter.

Any advice please? Why so different from last year - anyone know? (eg last year Skinners cut off 407, this year 414). Lots of sympathy from us to all in this situation. :|


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:32 am 
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There appears to be a similar problem in NW Kent - especially with the boys. Some of DS classmates who passed 11+ have been given either Knole or Orchard Academy (Knole if they had it on their CAF and Orchard if they had no non-selectives on their CAF!).

For boys that have passed with a score below about 415, there is only one school in our area (Wilmington) and this takes on distance. I guess the same as TWGSB in West Kent. And as Wilmington is on the borders of Bexley, and Bexley also has its own problems with few grammar places available, I would imagine competition for places is pretty fierce.

It would be interesting to know the cause - is it that more children that attend private primary schools are opting for state secondary schools due to financial pressures? Looking at stats, it wouldnt appear that OOA allocations have increased that dramatically. Our state primary had a far greater pass rate than in previous years, although the school are doing nothing differently - but maybe more parents are tutoring DCs to a higher level than have done previously?

With a significant number of children in NW and W Kent having "lost out" on grammar places, does this mean that there are other grammars around Kent that have empty places on allocation day?

I really feel for everyone in this situation.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:54 am 
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Hi,

We have also been offered Knowle with a score of 412 for our DS. Although I wasn't surprised by how high the Skinners' cut off was, I was surprised by the school we were offered. Having spent an ENTIRE weekend on forums, 11+ sites etc, I have come to the conclusion that my son will do well wherever he goes, and if there are a larger number of children going to Knowle who have scored very well, then the elusive 'grammar stream' could definitely work.
I was also swayed by the fact that my DS will have a 10 min journey to school and be travelling with friends who live locally. No matter what his score, I would never have entertained an 1.5/2hr journey to school, which I think would exhaust most 11 year olds. I feel it would also put him at a disadvantage getting home towards 6pm every day and being shattered before even starting homework. I'm sure this would have an adverse effect on even the brightest child.

The scores have risen so sharply at Skinners' and Judd because although only a small percentage of children have come out of the private sector, as the catchment area is so wide, the impact has been bigger. This has then had the knock on effect on the catchment shrinking for TWBG.

Good luck with whatever you all decide :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Cole22, if I could be sure that everyone thought like you I would happily send my DS to Knole too - he could walk to school instead of leaving the house at 7.30 for an hour+ journey, how lovely would that be !! (Which is why I really wish all Sevenoaks children just went there automatically) But I can't quite do it - I'm convinced most people here will get a place at grammar eventually so that's it, gotta go for it.
Lass: yes it looks like Oakwood Park in Maidstone, after being oversubscribed last year, has places this year as some of the kids who live very close to us (and even closer to Knole!) have been offered Oakwood Park. Our letter from the LEA said that in the past they have been criticised for offering grammar schools which are a very long way away as it causes stress to the child, so that's why we got Knole. Yet for some reason that doesn't apply to a child who lives a few feet closer to Oakwood Park yet would still have to use the same train station, and have effectively an identical journey to us!! Doesn't seem like there's any logic being applied at all.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:13 pm 
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Me again - I'm on a roll now.

If Judd or Skinners added an extra class this year, our problem in West Kent would be pretty well solved. Would it kill them? They have loads of money, loads of facilities, they couldn't argue that it would be lowering standards because the next batch of 30 kids would probably still have higher scores than they had a few years ago. TWGSB had to put on an extra class 3 years ago so probably won't do it again - surely it's one of the super selective's turn this year? You'd have thought they might be quite glad to do it given all the bad feeling over the whole adjudicator thing last year - and I really don't believe they could argue it would have an adverse effect on the children there.
Also it's them who cause the problem by taking out of area children.

And now I'll shut up. :|


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:45 pm 
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MarbleRun wrote:

If Judd or Skinners added an extra class this year, our problem in West Kent would be pretty well solved. Would it kill them? They have loads of money, loads of facilities, they couldn't argue that it would be lowering standards because the next batch of 30 kids would probably still have higher scores than they had a few years ago. TWGSB had to put on an extra class 3 years ago so probably won't do it again - surely it's one of the super selective's turn this year? You'd have thought they might be quite glad to do it given all the bad feeling over the whole adjudicator thing last year - and I really don't believe they could argue it would have an adverse effect on the children there.
Also it's them who cause the problem by taking out of area children.
:|


I agree 100%!!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Please be gentle with me as I'm a non Tonbridge with a child at Judd who got in on the first round of waiting lists last year.


Technically speaking, they are not at blame for taking out-of-area children as they don't have catchments! Plus the non-catchment system was proven to be okay as deemd by the adjudication ruling. Also, distance is not a factor, but ease of travel. My son actually leaves later from the village I live in, then those going to nearer grammers!
The school is also suffering from the recession and is not super rich. Its a state school funded in the same way as every other state school, and is not a private school.


Now I'm going to hide!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:33 pm 
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I've been sitting on my hands but have decided to join the fray having a child at Skinners'.

MarbleRun wrote:
Me again - I'm on a roll now.

If Judd or Skinners added an extra class this year, our problem in West Kent would be pretty well solved. Would it kill them?


The issue is not money but space in my opinion. Skinners' in particular is on a very small site and with no room to expand or build additional classrooms so physically wouldn't be able to accommodate another form entry. It already has classes of 30+ and consistently takes over PAN on appeal.

MarbleRun wrote:
....they couldn't argue that it would be lowering standards because the next batch of 30 kids would probably still have higher scores than they had a few years ago.


I don't think this is a concern - the scores achieved select the children relative to their peers in that year so it will still be the same top percentage who gain places.

MarbleRun wrote:
...Also it's them who cause the problem by taking out of area children.


I have no problem with taking out of area/county children. Some children just across the border in Sussex live closer to the TW grammar schools than children in the north of the LEA. The issue is a lack of adequate secondary schooling in Sevenoaks for our most able students and yes, I have signed the petition. I think it is daft sending children in the same county over 10 miles to school whereas if there were good schools for all in the local area it wouldn't necessary.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:10 pm 
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PianoPiano: I agree this demonstrates the lack of provision in the Sevenoaks area, but what is your advice for those of us this year scoring 413 and under - that don't have grammar places?

To other members that have sent private messages to me - thank you.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:01 pm 
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My advice, for what it's worth, is to accept the place you have for the time being, go on the waiting lists and appeal for the schools you really want. Two years ago the score at Skinner's dropped from 410 (which was the highest it had ever been) to 404 on appeal. Boys Grammar offered places to children in East Sussex off the waiting list once the 2nd round of allocations had taken place so movement does happen even in high scoring years.

I do understand your frustration and anger - I have a daughter in year 5 who will up for the 11+ in September. We are too far out from TWGGS to be certain of a place, not in catchment for Weald and she will never score highly enough for TGS. The only choice is to try for a Sussex comp or move...

I would like to know how many girls are without grammar places this year? The focus is, as always, on the boys' schools and I know from friends' experiences in the past that girls have been offered schools as far afield as Maidstone or newly created Acadamies as alternatives for TWGGS. Where do all the girls go?


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