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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:05 am 
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Any out of county people, did you all get that doom and gloom email yesterday? All about how far away the test centre will be and that they have to be there for 8am, and the tests are very hard so they probably won't pass, and even if they do pass, they won't get a place at a Kent school anyway.... blah blah blah.

Anyway, it's had the desired effect on me as I was half-hearted about my son taking the Kent test anyway (we live in Petts Wood and either the schools are either really far away, or don't come out to Petts Wood any more like Wilmington) and now I'm really torn about what to do for the best. I can't decide whether to just withdraw him and concentrate on Bexley, or if it's worth letting him sit the test knowing it's very very unlikely he'll end up at a Kent school anyway. Wondered what others thought?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:22 am 
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Girls from Petts Wood are going to Weald this year (just need a pass, but no good for your DS!), also Dartford and Tonbridge (dependent on score, but Dartford isn't so hard as Tonbridge), there is a direct coach from Petts Wood to Dartford and for Weald and Tonbridge the train is easy. There are other schools like Skinners and Judd (can never remember which is the one that takes on score and which is the local one as I have a DD not a DS). Don't let it put you off!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:30 am 
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Hi,
Wow, I didn't realise that they were sending email of this sort. Do you care to copy some of it here?
I think that you should always try, you never know what may happen on the day.

About the early start, I know someone who spent the night close to the test centre. Check out B&Bs or AirBnB.

Good luck.

Salsa


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:42 am 
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Goodness. Yes, do paste it on here. Sounds fascinating. Try sending it to the head of all the schools that are used to children from all over the place. Are they sending something similarly depressing out to all parents who might apply to non-selective schools from over the Kent border?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:48 am 
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blondegirl wrote:
Any out of county people, did you all get that doom and gloom email yesterday? All about how far away the test centre will be and that they have to be there for 8am, and the tests are very hard so they probably won't pass, and even if they do pass, they won't get a place at a Kent school anyway.... blah blah blah.

Anyway, it's had the desired effect on me as I was half-hearted about my son taking the Kent test anyway (we live in Petts Wood and either the schools are either really far away, or don't come out to Petts Wood any more like Wilmington) and now I'm really torn about what to do for the best. I can't decide whether to just withdraw him and concentrate on Bexley, or if it's worth letting him sit the test knowing it's very very unlikely he'll end up at a Kent school anyway. Wondered what others thought?


Don't pull out. Find out more. He can't go to a girls' grammar school but there are other options in Kent. Ignore misinformation like that email. Is it the local equivalent of Brexit? Kexit or something?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:53 am 
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
I was just looking at the letter from 2015 when DD sat her test, it didn't put me off but could be interpreted as doom and gloom:

The tests will take place at ****. Please ensure that *** arrives by 8.10am....

Please note there are no parking facilities...

More than 4,400 children from other Local Authorities have applied to take the Kent Test this year, so we cannot offer anyone an alternative to the allocated test centre.


Would be curious too to know what they've put this year. If they have put in something about they are not likely to get place even if they pass then this is surely against the Admissions Code (not that I am an expert in that area).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:45 pm 
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Here is some of it. It's obviously worded in a very careful way!


The test centre we allocate may be a considerable distance from your home, and once we have allocated a test centre we will not be able to offer you a different date, time or venue. This year, the Council has received a record number of Kent Test registrations for children who do not live in Kent. Even with schools in North West, West and central Kent taking part we do not have enough capacity in test centres close to the county border, so we are approaching schools in East Kent (Canterbury and Thanet) to try to find enough space to test everyone who has registered. Testing takes place in the morning and in order to be tested children will need to arrive between 8:00 to 9:00am.

The test is only valid for Grammar schools in Kent. Make sure you know where the Kent Grammar schools are, and what the admissions criteria are for the school(s) you are interested in. Kent County Council is not the Local Authority (LA) for schools in Medway or Bexley. Each Council’s tests will differ, so taking a test in one LA will not improve your child’s chances of securing a Grammar assessment in a different one.

Many children will find the test difficult. Grammar schools in Kent provide for children in about the top 25% of the ability range. Some of Kent’s Grammar schools - particularly those which are most likely to offer places to children from outside Kent - give priority to those with the highest scores. If you have not already done so, you should check with your child’s primary school that they are doing well in class before committing them to take the Kent Test.

Passing the Kent Test does not guarantee your child a place in a Kent Grammar school. Many of our grammar schools still offer the majority of their places on the basis of straight line distance between your child’s home address and the school, so if they are oversubscribed not everyone who has passed will be offered a place . Consider how likely your child is to be offered a place at the school they want, and how they would travel to that school if a place was offered. Last year, around 4,400 children living outside KCC’s borders took the Kent Test, but only 455 went on to attend a Kent Grammar school.


I'm undecided. He plays a sport to a high level and has a lot of training, so a long commute to school wouldn't be ideal. I was keen on Wilmington as it's not far and has a coach, but now its admissions have changed, I'm not overly enthusiastic about any of the Kent schools really. Because it's an early test I thought it might be worth it as a practice, but it's a lot of hassle for a practice. Hmm.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:54 pm 
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
blondegirl wrote:
I was keen on Wilmington as it's not far and has a coach, but now its admissions have changed, I'm not overly enthusiastic about any of the Kent schools really. Because it's an early test I thought it might be worth it as a practice, but it's a lot of hassle for a practice. Hmm.


I think you've answered your question, if not really aiming for one of the schools including Dartford (same coach as the Wilmington one and similar journey time) then don't take the test. Knowing how stretched school budgets are, take a mock and pay for it instead. St Olaves PTA do free spaces too for those who struggle with funds.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:17 pm 
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Quote:
Because it's an early test I thought it might be worth it as a practice, but it's a lot of hassle for a practice.


And there in lies part of the reason for the email the school/KCC are issuing to ooc applicants and I have to sympathise with them.

If it is an early test, many probably do use it as a practice with no real desire for a place at the school. Such huge numbers sitting the test must drain their resources with regard to places for candidates to sit the test, staff to supervise, not to mention the cost of each pupil's paper being provided and marked. It also makes the experience of the test itself much more unpleasant for everyone involved, having to park far away and deal with such large crowds and queues.

It is also more difficult for local children to get a pass because of the huge number that sit the test and affect the standardised pass mark and then some of those that do get a pass won't put the school down on the CAF anyway because they just used it as a practice.

I can understand someone living far away letting their child sit the test because they are moving into the area but if you live far away and intend to stay living far away then I do not think you should be allowed to sit the test because of the increased burden it puts on the school but mainly because it does deprive some local children from getting a place at the school and then they may have to travel long distances to a school they never wanted to go to but can't get into their local school. It is also unfair on the ooc child if they do end up going to the school with a long journey each day.

I think this whole choice of school thing has gotten out of hand and in fact for some people it has actually reduced the choice available because if they cannot afford a tutor or cannot/do not know how to do it themselves, they can now waive goodbye to their local selective schools where they may have had a fair chance of getting in previously.

I think it is time to knock the selection process on the head and concentrate on providing everyone with good local schools with no entrance test but where children are streamed into classes suited to their ability.

I think the introduction of academies and 'codes' for admissions and appeals with no central, sufficiently knowledgeable, transparent body to oversee this whole process, has meant that it has all turned out to be a bit of a farce, a lottery and extremely unfair.

So thankful that I am now done with what is quite honestly a miserable and stressful process.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:31 pm 
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Would your son get into one of the Bexley schools? The Bexley test is different to Kent in format and speed, but not so different in the English and Maths content. Taking the test as a mock would provide your son with valuable experience of what a real test is like. This in itself can be valuable if things go well, but can put a child off if it's a bad experience.
Mocks can have the same effect and won't necessarily have the same format. It all depends on your child.
The Bexley test is also entered by over 5000 children and Bexley only has 4 grammar schools with just over 600 places. So, it's a very competitive exam. However, this year Beths have offered over 7.7 miles on the waiting list and this distance can still expand by September.

Salsa


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