(updated February 2016)
Inspiration Academy at Leigh UTC. New school opening September 2017. Details to follow.
Invicta Grammar School. Has not been fully subscribed for the past few years and a number of girls have been admitted on appeal. Uses a KCC appeal Panel. I am pleased to say that all five of my clients were successful on appeal in 2010 through to 2012, a 100% record for the past five years. Is Federated with Valley Park School. The Federation has become an Academy. Just fully subscribed on 1st March 2011 and again in 2012. Half of all appeals successful in 2010, with probably a similar pattern in the two subsequent years. OFSTED Sep 2012 - Outstanding: Excerpts from Report: Information about this school Invicta Grammar School is a larger-than-average 11 to 18 girls’ selective school situated in Maidstone. The school has a business and enterprise specialism with a second specialism in languages. The proportion of students who are from minority ethnic backgrounds and the proportion who speak English as an additional language are above national averages. Invicta Grammar School converted to academy status in April 2012. The school shares a governing body and chief executive with its neighbouring non-selective secondary school. Summary of key findings - Invicta Grammar School is an outstanding school. There is an unyielding pursuit of excellence by the headteacher, senior leaders, middle leaders and governors. Achievement is outstanding across all key stages and in all subjects with all groups of students. The popular sixth form is outstanding. The school raised its Planned Admission Number by 17 girls to 192 for 2013 entry onward. This matches the additional number it tended to attract through appeals in recent years and subsequently. 157 offers were made for 2013 entry, leaving 35 spaces, many to be filled with successful appeals. It is a puzzle as to why and how both Maidstone girls' grammars had significant vacancies for 2013 entry. 9 vacancies for 2014 entry, Full for 2015 after allocation, with 189 first choices out of 192, with 11 turned away. With vacancies usual in both Maidstone girls' grammars, 1st choices at both very likely to be offered, unless a long way away. 94 appeals, of which 63 upheld, final intake in September 2015 - a massive 241 girls. Increased intake in 2016 to 210, and just filled. However, another 39 out of the 72 appeals for 2016 were successful, but most girls apply to here and Maidstone Girls Grammar, so some of these would not take up places. 99% 5 A-Cs in 2015. 4th highest grammar school in provisional Progress 8, and 7th in Attainment.
Isle of Sheppey Academy Now Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey.
John Wallis Academy Ashford. The new Academy opened in September 2010 and is due ot move into a new £8.6 million premises in September 2014. It is now an all age academy, from 3-19. The sponsors are: The Diocese of Canterbury, Benenden School, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council. The headteacher is John MacParland, previously head of the successful St Simon Stock RC School in Maidstone. KCC described the proposal for the all aged Academy as "a systemic response to the historic repeated failing of education provision in south Ashford was planned ". Initially found it difficult to attract students due to poor reputation of predecessor schools. However, popularity much improved for 2012. School was full for places for September 2013, as of 1st March, having attracted 178 first choices for its 210 places. OFSTED January 2014: Good. Some excerpts - Information about the school: The academy opened as an 11–16 school in 2010. A sixth form was created in September 2011. In September 2012, a primary sector was opened making the school an all-through provider for pupils and students aged 3–19. Both the predecessor secondary and primary school had previously been in special measures; The academy is sponsored by the Diocese of Canterbury, Benenden School, Canterbury Christ Church University and Kent County Council; It is larger than the average-sized school; There are similar numbers of boys and girls attending the school in the age range 3–16, but boys outnumber girls in the sixth form; The proportion of students known to be eligible for the pupil premium (additional funding provided by the government to help nationally underperforming groups such as students eligible for free school meals and children who are looked after) is considerably above the national average; Close to 80% of students are of a White British heritage. While the proportion of students from minority ethnic groups is below average, the proportion who speaks English as an additional language is well above average; The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs supported through school action is well above average. The proportion of students supported at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is also well above average; In the 2012–13 academic year, the academy’s secondary school met the current government floor standard, which determines the minimum expectations for attainment and progress by the end of Key Stage 4. The floor standard was not met in the primary sector. Key Findings -This is a good school: The inspirational Principal has an ambitious vision of continual improvement for the academy. He is ably supported by his senior team, his staff and the governors; Excellent performance on value-added in GCSE 2013, led me to suggest it is the best-performing school in Kent in terms of progression. Vacancies for 2014 entry, but increasing popularity meant it was full for 2015 entry before grammar school appeals. Fro 2016 entry, popularity maintained offering all 210 places including 188 first choices, four turned down,but will have got in on appeal. In top quarter of non-selective schools in Kent for Progress 8. Just under half way for Attainment 8.
The Judd School The most selective school in Kent selecting purely on the aggregate score in the Kent tests, but for 2016 admission changing its oversubscription criteria to cover two different areas, with 135 boys being admitted from an Inner area, and 20 from elsewhere. It looks as if the Appeal Panel will generally offer a further 4-8 places, but they have the right of course to offer none. Placing Judd in the search engine for this website will produce numerous articles relating to admissions and appeals. The school has now increased its intake to 155 from 2014 entry. 9 appeals for 2013 entry, none successful. The new Kent Test saw a considerable fall in the aggregate score requirement in all the 'super-selective' grammars with Judd offering places for 2015 entry, to boys with an aggregate score of 371 or more, still highest in the County for Kent children. The school turned away 79 grammar qualified first choices, but the cut off fell to no more than 361 after re-allocations and withdrawals. 6 successful appeals out of 17 for 2015 (number of appeals is unsurprisingly small as a powerful case is needed to win a place, which is inhibiting). The cut off for 2016 is 362 for the Inner Area and 391 for the Outer. Not all boys on those scores were offered places, losing out on distance grounds. At this stage last year it was 371 for all candidates, and the fall in scores for Inner (nearly all Kent, local to Judd), is entirely predictable as the 135 boys are drawn from a much smaller pool than last year. With just 20 places for Outer which, I suspect are mainly out of Kent, it is again unsurprising that the cut-off has risen so high. I would be very surprised if the local figure falls as far as the Judd score has dropped in previous years (10 in 2015), as the cohort comprises local boys who are unlikely to peel away to other options as regularly happens to a number of those from out-county. For 2016 entry there were 44 appeals, 43 of which were from children who had passed the Kent Test. Just 2 were successful, these from boys who had passed. 10 places offered on 2016 reallocation day, 8 from local area (in 2015 it was 20, confirming the increased commitment from local families as a result of the change in commitment). 2016, 2nd in Kent for Attainment at GCSE, 5th for Progress.
Knole Academy, Sevenoaks, opened in September 2010 combining the old Bradbourne and Wildernesse Schools. Instead of a complete new build as was originally planned, "The final decision made, having considered all the complexities, is to build a large extension on the space where the back car park is at Knole West (formerly The Bradbourne School) with the school's own sports hall, bigger and more acoustically friendly performance hall, and many other exciting learning spaces, which we hope will also benefit the community of Sevenoaks. The advantage to this scheme means that we can retain the ex Bradbourne buildings, which are in good condition and have excellent facilities, including the £2 million extension opened in 2004 and paid for by Kent County Council. Although a slightly smaller site than the ex Wildernesse site, the main advantages are that the existing buildings are in a good state of repair, the highway access is good and we will continue to make use of the extension which cost £2 million in 2004. The new extension will be built first with refurbishments of existing blocks to follow and should be complete by summer 2013". Sponsors include KCC and Sevenoaks private school. Early publicity for the proposed Academy suggested it is also expected to cater for children of grammar school ability, who currently have no selective school in Sevenoaks, and the school has since made much of this. The Principal is Mrs Mary Boyle, previously head of The Bradbourne School for Girls, recently featured in the media as one of the highest paid heads in the County. In 2012, it responded to pressure on grammar school places by offering an additional form of entry, and setting up two grammar school streams. Entering Knole in the search engine for this website will produce several articles on education provision in Sevenoaks. OFSTED November 2015: Requires Improvement, down from Good in 2012. Excerpts: Information about this school: Knole Academy is larger than the average secondary school. It is growing in size and has expanded in the last year, including the numbers of learners on 16–19 study programmes; There are more girls than boys in the academy; The proportion of disadvantaged pupils, especially those known to be eligible for free school meals, is below average; The proportion of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs is below average. The academy meets the current government floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress.Key findings: This is an academy that requires improvement; Pupils by the end of Key Stage 4, especially boys, do not routinely achieve as well as they should; Disadvantaged pupils, especially those eligible for free school meals, do not do as well as others; Leaders, including governors, do not always plan actions effectively to ensure necessary improvements are secured; Teaching in mathematics and science particularly does not result in the rapid progress pupils need to make to narrow the gaps in their knowledge, skills or understanding; Often, all pupils, no matter what their starting point, receive exactly the same work as everybody else learning a subject; The most-able pupils are not consistently provided with challenging targets that inspire them to attain the highest grades. This Report proved a great shock to the school which, at the time of writing has lodged an appeal against it. Full again for 2013 entry on allocation in March, but lost students to both the grammar schools on appeal and reallocation, and also to the new Trinity Free School in Sevenoaks. 49 first choices turned away on allocation in March 2014, and 62 in 2015, but traditionally loses a lot by September. So for the 39 appeals for 2015 entry, all those who persevered were offered a place.
Siblings take priority, then the school admits pupils across the ability range only from its catchment area, split into inner and outer areas, in the proportions 70/30. All applicants are tested for ability, then divided into five ability bands. Pupils are selected randomly from each band in the required proportions. Currently vacancies are made up from the waiting list. There are few successful appeals, for it is very difficult to make a case against random selection. Details are here. It is now in a Federation with the new Longfield Academy. 218 first choices oversubscribed on 2nd March 2010, again the most oversubscribed school in the county. For 2010 entry there were 4 successful appeals for admission out of 65. Most oversubscribed school in Kent for fourth consecutive year, 199 first choices turned down for 2011 entry. 193 in 2012. Now heads up an expanding academy chain. Principal of Longfield Academy, Neil Willis, is taking over the leadership of Leigh Academy. Tongue in cheek, is it losing its popularity, with just 123 first choices turned away, but still most popular school in Kent? OFSTED 2013: Good. Excerpts from Report - Information about the school: The school is larger than most secondary schools; It is in an area served by several grammar schools; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress; The school takes students from other schools into its sixth form, and currently about ten percent of students come from other schools; A similar proportion of students leave at the end of Year 11 to go to other schools or colleges to follow sixth form courses; The school is divided into four colleges internally, and younger students experience many of their lessons within their college rather than as part of the whole school; The principals of colleges rotate the role of lead principal; The school has a local authority funded unit for pupils with hearing impairment - It can take up to 25 pupils, but currently has seven, and numbers are falling; The school has experienced significant changes in staffing in some areas in recent years. Key finding: This is a good school. All three Leigh Academy Trust secondary schools were amongst the highest non-selective performers at GCSE in 2013. Once again most oversubscribed secondary school on allocation in March 2014 by 106 first choices, popularity falling again from 123 in 2013, but doubt the academy will be worried! GCSE % A-Cs on a downward slide from 63% in 2013, 53% in 2014 and 43% in 2013.
Longfield Academy OFSTED May 2014. Good for the second time. Some Excerpts: Information about School: Longfield Academy is larger than the average-sized secondary school and includes a sixth form; The Academy has three Principals who each lead a college within the Academy; The Academy opened in September 2008 and is sponsored by Leigh Academy Trust, University of Kent and Kent County Council; The proportion of students for whom the school receives the pupil premium is below that found nationally; The proportion of students from minority ethnic backgrounds is below that found nationally, as is the proportion of students who speak English as an additional language;The proportion of disabled students and those who have special educational needs supported through school action is below average. The proportion supported at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is above national average; The Academy has specially resourced provision for pupils with special educational needs. It supports 40 students with autistic spectrum disorder; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress by the end of Year 11. Key Judgement: This is a good school. The new buildings appear well planned and are fully functional at an original cost of some £25 million. It completely replaced the previous 1960s buildings which were in an appalling condition. As I wrote some years ago: "Indeed it is apparent that the main reason for forming an Academy here is to secure new premises – the school is rural, not failing and in a good socio economic area – meeting none of the normal conditions for an old style Academy". Attracted considerable attention being oversubscribed for the first time in memory, with 22 first choices oversubscribed on 2nd March 2010. Uses a commercial Company to organise and run its appeals. There were no successful appeals for September 2010 admission and few subsequently in most years. Popularity was maintained for 2011 entry 26 first choices oversubscribed, soaring for 2012, with 91 first choices turned away, second most popular non-selective school in Kent (to Leigh Academy). 73 first choices turned away in 2013, 75 in 2014 and 34 in 2015. The cut off distance in 2014 was very small, reported as 2 miles. A complete turn around for appeals in 2015, with all 21 appeals that were heard being upheld. GCSE performance steady in previous years around 2015's 52%, apart from the remarkable 66% of 2013.