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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:19 pm
Posts: 32
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum. My dd is sitting the Kent Test this September and I have a quick question regarding the pass rate across Kent.
We are in East Kent (Canterbury area). From what I've read, there are many sought after grammar schools in West Kent. There are also children trying to gain access to these grammar schools from London. I'm therefore assuming that competition for grammar school places in West Kent is much higher than it is in our area. This may lead to more children being tutored and ultimately a higher pass rate in that part of Kent.
My question is - only a certain percentage of children can pass the test every year - is this percentage calculated across Kent as a whole or is it calculated as the top percentage of the different parts of Kent? I would think that the number of children accepting grammar places would need to be spread evenly across Kent, otherwise there would be over-demand for grammar places in some areas and under-demand in others? I hope my question makes sense and I would be grateful if anyone could shed any light on this for me!
Many thanks x


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:57 pm
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Hi, punkeson, and welcome to the Kent forum.

Your question makes perfect sense. The percentage pass mark for the Kent Test is calculated across all children sitting the Test, irrespective of residence, so across East and West Kent and all children who live outside of Kent and sit the test in a given year.

The only difference in outcome/opportunity based on area that I can think of is an 'in county: out of county' split in respect of 'headteacher assessment' by which a further small percentage of children are assessed 'grammar suitable'. Within Kent, local panels of headteachers meet to review cases put forward by their schools where the children have narrowly failed the Test and they take account of the respective school's submission of grammar suitability and of the half-hour written piece the child has produced during the Test. The writing piece is otherwise not marked. If children who live outside of Kent sit the Test, I am not sure that there is the possibility of a headteacher panel pass if they fail on one or more of the papers. (Someone will correct me on this, I'm sure, if I'm wrong.)

More children from West Kent than East Kent are entered for the Test and you are correct that over-demand for places in West Kent over many years has meant high competition and a culture of paid tuition and coaching to pass the Test. This problem is exacerbated by competition for places at 'super-selective' grammars in West Kent, ie, those for which an 11+ 'pass' is not enough: entry is based on ranked score or a combination of score and proximity to the school.

Kent County Council has done quite a lot in the past two to three years to work with West Kent schools to increase the number of grammar places and thereby reduce the distance some children need to travel each day to attend a grammar school. Weald of Kent has significantly increased its Year 7 intake (girls only) and, as you may have heard, is building an annexe in Sevenoaks. Judd and Skinners have taken extra classes of boys in recent years and Judd now allocates most of its places to local boys (although local boys are still ranked by score for the award of places.)

Of course, there are excellent grammars in East Kent too and hot spots of oversubscription exist outside of West Kent. The Council tries to anticipate demand, projecting five years ahead in its planning process. Each year it produces an education commissioning plan with a breakdown of supply and demand figures by district. This is available on the KCC website, and I think you may find it helpful. Let me know if you have trouble finding it and I'll try to post a link.

There is also an independent adviser who has a website providing very helpful news and analysis on Kent school matters. He looks at oversubscription figures for all the grammar schools - and other schools, secondary and primary - in Kent. Please PM me if you would like more information as we are not allowed to name his website here.

Good luck to you and your DD in your 11+ preparations. Don't be put off by the thought of other families going the paid-tuition route. You will see plentiful commentary in this forum on how to help your daughter prepare for the Kent Test at home, particularly through familiarisation with the test format and questions she should expect. It really is worth your time combing through past threads on relevant topics - go back 2-3 years; and ask questions if you need to: that way you'll feel well-informed and supported, as I was for my DS sitting the Test last year. (My thanks to all concerned!) :D


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:59 am
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Very good advice. I'd like to add that all children are treated equally whether they are Kent residents or not. The Headteachers' appeal also applies. What is different, however, is how many out of Kent Headteachers follow the appeals process. We, of course do not know why, but it may be because they do not approve of selection or cannot be bothered with the added work.
There have been Freedom of Information requests showing the number of Headteachers' appeals and you can clearly see that prep schools top the list of those with more appeals and of those with more upheld appeals.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:19 pm
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Thank-you for your helpful replies! :D


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