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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 2:47 pm 
Hello, does anyone know roughly what the distance cut-off was this year to get into this school. I am aware that for TW girls, their catchment radius has shrunk, and if this is a general trend, I am concerned about my son getting in from Sevenoaks in two years time. Thanks.


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 Post subject: TWGSB
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 8:08 am 
I am not sure what there exact distance cut-off was. They are usually very helpful if you e-mail the school office with questions like this.

I know of boys from Riverhead and further up London Road towards Dunton Green who started there last September. I don't know how this compares with your "as the crow flies" distance from the school.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 5:06 pm 
There does seem to be a problem this year for boys in the North Sevenoaks/Kemsing/Otford area. Although these are nominally in the catchment area for TWGSB, there are several - ask Peter, who contributes on the subject and seems to write with some authority and knowledge, just how many - who have passed the 11 + test but who haven't been allocated grammar schools. My son is one of them. It varies from year to year, in many previous years children at our school in this area have gone in straight away to TWGSB, in others it has been difficult.

Incidentally the appeals, and there are many, for TWGSB are still some way off. Appeals for some of the girls' grammars have been heard and there are girls who missed the pass mark for the exam who now have places at these schools while boys who have passed, including my son, are still in limbo, a state which the Catholic church may have renounced but which is still a mainstay of the secondary school selection process here in Kent.

Equal rights for boys!

Please.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:21 pm
Posts: 217
Location: Kent & Medway
One (possibly the main) reason why Tunbridge Wells Girls cut off distance has shrunk is that having gone Foundation they have offered 14 governors places to high scorers who would not otherwise be eligible on distance grounds. This reduces the number of 'closest' places available. There is no such factor in TWBGS decisions.

I am not aware of any particular problem with boys this year, there is always oversubscription at TWBGS. One reason that the cut off distance varies so much is that the other two boys grammar schools select on highest scores irrespective of distance, which produces wider swings at TWBGS than would normally be the case.

However: (1) A large number of oversubscription appeals were granted at TWBGS last year, but many of these were not taken up, leaving the school with a difficult 190 boys in seven classes. I understand they are planning to reduce to six large classes in Year Eight for September.

(2) Massive and unexpected oversubscription at Maidstone Grammar School this year may have been a part consequence of West Kent oversubscription. There are considerable concerns over the decision making process of the MGS panel which let 22 out of 77 appeals through, turning down many boys for whom it is their nearest school and who had passed the test.

Moving swiftly from the catholic church to the conservative Party, David Cameron is right to have concerns about grammar school admissions, but it is a matter of debate if they are the correct ones!


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 Post subject: TWGSB current year 7
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:49 am 
I was very interested to see what Peter said about the current year 7 at TWGSB.

Splitting 190 boys into 6 classes will result in class sizes over 30. I know this is legal. However, is there any way that parents could put forward a persuasive argument to the school saying that they would not expect such large class sizes in a school of that calibre?

It will presumably affect the whole year group right through until GCSE.

When is the school likely to do its timetabling for next year?

With thanks


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 1:31 pm 
[quote="Peter"]
I understand they are planning to reduce to six large classes in Year Eight for September.

By reducing to 6 classes, do you think that the aim is to then down the number of boys entering? I cannot see how larger classes is going to be of any benefit. Surely, it must be better to have 7 classes of 27, than 6 classes of 32. I did hear that some sort of house system is to be introduced, so perhaps this is also one of the logistical reasons.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11942
I would be worried about this reduction to 6 classes - as a teacher those 'few extra' make a huge difference.

From a social point of view it is also very disruptive ...


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 1:42 pm 
If the aim is to eventually reduce the intake, then why don't they reduce the number of classes with that intake? I just can't see a grammar school having classes of over 30. Is this normal elsewhere?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 1:46 pm 
Thanks for all the comments regarding cut-off distance. Being in central Sevenoaks, I gather we are "safe", at least if things continue along the lines of current and past years. It may well be that in future there will be an increasing oversubscription squeeze on the West Kent grammars, with more qualified pupils living and moving to this area. If so, I wonder if these schools would be allowed to expand - supposedly a government approved policy. Or in the current political climate against grammars, who knows?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:03 pm 
cupcake wrote:
Peter wrote:
I understand they are planning to reduce to six large classes in Year Eight for September.


Here is the official info on this, taken directly from school's letter:

"The school is designated as a 6-form entry school. In effect there should not be more than 180 students in a year group. There does, however, exist an independent appeal panel than can direct the School to admit more than 180 and indeed this happened to this School in 4 of the last 5 years. The two biggest years are 10 & 11 and the both have around 210 studentss. This means that in September we will have a big jump in numbers post-16 and significant rooming demands. Therefore we will be returning Years 7, 8 & 9 to 6 forms. For students in current Years 7 & 8 a reorganisation of tutor groups is required and class sizes will go from a maximum of 29 as it is now to a figure of 32. I am not happy about this move but in order to room our curriculum and ensure students have places to work, this has to be done. I have spoken with a number of County Officers about it and made written representations. I will be monitoring the situation very carefully".

What I don't understand about this is how the independent appeal panel was able to direct so many extra students into this School, when there has always clearly been a problem with space and accommodation. How can this be fair to the School? A friend had their appeal yesterday and is not optimistic as they were told by the panel; "to let anyone through will have a very negative impact on standards". Why put all the parents through the agony of appeal in the first place, if the School is already full?

I am lucky enough to have a space for September but I truly feel for anyone who has their hopes up with an appeal.


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