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Individual School Information - D

   (updated October 2016)

For Attainment 8 and Progress 8 with 2016 GCSE scores go to here for explanation.

Dane Court Grammar School. 2 qualified first choices oversubscribed on 2nd March 2010, 10 for 2011. Now has completely new premises thanks to BSF.  Has become an academy, in conjunction with its Federated partner, King Ethelbert School. Slightly oversubscribed, March 2012 for 2012 admissions. Popularity well up for 2013 entry. 29 first preferences turned away. Some 82 appeals with 13 successful. Head of School has been appointed HT of Maidstone Grammar School for Girls. Just 3 grammar qualified first choices turned away for 2014, losing out out Sir Roger Manwood's, 7 for 2015 entry. 17 out of 83 appeals upheld for 2015. Worryingly low GCSE performance, for 2015 being 93%, below 94% for second consecutive year. Not oversubscribed for first choices for the first time for many years, for September 2016. 15 successful appeals out of 63 for 2016.

Dartford Grammar School   Regularly one of the most oversubscribed schools in the county, with enormous pressure on places coming from the London boroughs. Takes the International Baccalaureate,  and The Middle School Years Baccalaureate already, and so follows a broad academic curriculum. Most oversubscribed grammar school in Kent for the first time, in 2013, turning away 136 first preferences, although inevitably a very high proportion of these would have been from the London Boroughs. For out of area children, pass mark rose to 418, the highest in Kent this year (the school proved uniquely unhelpful in providing this information). Increased its intake to 180 for 2015 entry, with a limit of 90 on local boys, other places awarded on high scores. Massively oversubscribed for 2014 entry, turning away 146 grammar qualified first choices, and again in 2015 in spite of the increase of 30 places, most oversubscribed school in Kent turning away 127 qualified first choices, out of Dartford cut off 369. 70 boys came from outside Kent. 6 successful appeals out of 70 for 2015 admission, five of whom had passed the Kent Test and so were out of Dartford boys, the sixth was a client of mine. For 2016 admission, the cut off for the 90 'out or area' boys is 375. There is a limit on the number of 'local' boys to 90 boys being accepted, which was reached this year. As a result, the local boys were chosen on score ranking with a cut off at 351, so that for the first time a number of grammar qualified boys living near to the school will not have been offered places.complaint to the Schools Adjudicator when the new Admission Rules were set up, was turned down partly on the basis that few local boys would be disadvantaged on this basis.This is clearly untrue. 226 boys were turned away  for September 2016, the highest figure in Kent. 81 ooc students were admitted, just 2 from NS schools. 100% 5 A-Cs September 2016. 6 successful appeals for 2016 out of 108. 

Dartford Grammar School for Girls - The school  approved new admission criteria for 2015 entry, expanding to 160 girls, but setting an initial limit of 100 for girls living in local parishes (which should be enough). After that places are awarded to highest scorers, wherever they reside. The Schools Adjudicator ruled on this decision, here.  OFSTED 2016- Outstanding. For 2014 the school took all children within named parishes, with a  cut off of 413 for high scorers outside, but under the new rules in 2015, 95 girls who were grammar qualified first choices were turned away, second highest (to Dartford Boys) for a Kent grammar school. Cut off score for out of Dartford girls was 370, with 40 out of county girls being offered places, far more than in previous years. Very difficult to win an appeal with 7 out of 65 being successful. For 2016 admission there was a cut off for inner area girls living in named parishes for the first time as the 100 girls offered places were required to score 333. The cut off for the remaining out of area girls, after children in care and siblings were offered, was 363, so that for the first time a number of grammar qualified girls living near to the school will not have been offered places.  In total, 66 first choices were turned away. A complaint to the Schools Adjudicator when the new Admission Rules were set up, was turned down partly on the basis that few local girls would be disadvantaged on this basis.This is clearly untrue.99% 5A-Cs at GCSE in 2015. 119 first choices turned away for September 2016, 3 successful appeals out of 81 for 2016 admission. 

Dartford Technology College - Normally fills in September. OFSTED 2011 surprisingly placed in Special Measures. My own view at the time was: "I think one can feel sorry for the school which has clearly been making progress with satisfactory progress by pupils and the built in disadvantage Kent non-selective schools have when compared with the standards of all-ability schools across the country. Good progress on tackling Special Measures, OFSTED Jan 2012 and again in May 2012. Not surprisingly, popularity has slumped for 2012 admission". A further OFSTED Inspection in November 2012 found the school was offering education of a GOOD standard. Excerpts: Information about this school - Dartford Science and Technology College is smaller than the average secondary school; Around a quarter of higher-attaining pupils from the local primary schools attend neighbouring grammar schools; About a fifth of the students are from a wide range of minority ethnic backgrounds; The proportion of students with a statement of special educational needs is high;  Sixth form provision is provided jointly with two other local schools; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. Key findings - This is a good school; The school’s headteacher, supported by a very effective governing body, provides inspiring and skilled leadership - He has the respect of teachers and students and has made significant improvements to the school in a very short time; The sixth form is good. I am pleased that the faith parents had in the school for their children is justified, but there is no doubt the previous OFSTED damaged the school in terms of parental confidence, with just 93 Year 7 students admitted in September 2012, for a Planned Admission number of 145, the school being full or thereabouts in all higher age groups.  107 places offered for 2013 entry, so past issues continue to have an influence, up to 131 in 2014. Just filled on allocation in March 2015. Surprisingly, a few vacancies for 2016 in spite of a strong 57% 5 GCSE A-Cs in 2015.

Dover Christ Church Academy, replaced Archer's Court Maths and Computing College and opened in September 2010. Specialising in maths and computing, and music, the co-educational school has a capacity of 950 11 to 18 year olds as well as around 40 students with profound severe and complex special needs. It is being sponsored by Christ Church University, Canterbury, along with Kent County Council and the two Dover Grammar schools. It is currently waiting the Autumn Spending Review to discover the prospects for its new buildings. The fall in pupil numbers in Dover contributes to its disappointing 41 vacancies before appeals for other schools for 2011 entry, and even further for 2012. Co-sponsored by the two Dover Grammar Schools, Canterbury Christ Church University and Kent County Council. OFSTED Oct 2014 - Requires Improvement, no change form 2012. Excerpts: Information about this school -Dover Christ Church is an 11–18 academy. It is smaller than the average secondary school, with 100 in the sixth form; Most students are from White British backgrounds and the proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is well below the national average; The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium (this is additional government funding for students entitled to free school meals and in the care of the local authority) is double the national average;  A specifically resourced provision for students with special educational needs at the academy is called Aspen 2. There are 40 students on roll who have a wide range of profound, severe and complex needs: severe learning, profound and multiple learning difficulties; The academy is sponsored by Canterbury Christ Church University, Dover Grammar School for Girls, Dover Grammar School for Boys and Kent local authority; The principal has been appointed since the last inspection and there have been significant changes to the senior leadership team since the last inspection; A major rebuilding project is underway on the site; The academy did not meet the government’s current floor standards in 2014, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. In 2013, the floor standards were met.   Key findings - This is a school that requires improvement. Plenty of vacancies for 2014, 2015 and 2016 entry. Just reached floor level with 41% 5 GCSE A-Cs including English and Maths in 2015.  

Dover Grammar School for Boys. Admission is either by the Dover Test (for boys and girls) or the Kent Test, children also being able to take both. The Dover test comprises VR, NVER, maths and English and pass is by an aggregate score. The Dover Test is not recognised by KCC as valid for entrance to any other grammar school and a pass has not generally been considered a valid case by Independent Appeal Panels for other grammar schools.  As much as half of the intake is through the Dover Test.  Dover Boys was 4 first choices oversubscribed for 2013 entry. OFSTED Oct 2013- Requires Improvement, a fall of two grades from the 2010 Outstanding OFSTED Grade. Some Excerpts - Information about the school: Dover Grammar School for Boys is a smaller than average-sized secondary school; It is a selective boys’ school which admits girls into the sixth form; Most boys have passed the Kent Selective Test; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress; There have been significant changes within the senior leadership group since the previous inspection, including the headteacher who has been in post for three years. Key FindingsThis is a school that requires improvement. Oversubscribed 2014 entry. Headteacher left the school shortly after the OFSTED Inspection, the second grammar head to go in less than a year (the other being HT of Chatham Grammar Boys). Fully subscribed for 2014 entry, 71 of its 120 places being offered to boys who qualified through the Dover Test, rising to 81 for 2015. Another 14 of the 19 appeals were upheld. For 2016 admission, just 39 boys out of the 127 offered places passed the Kent Test, the remaining 88 being accepted off the Dover Test. Seven of 18 Appeals were successful. Just 93% GCSE 5 A-Cs in 2015. 

Dover Grammar School for Girls. Admission is either by the Dover Test (for boys and girls) or the Kent Test, children also being able to take both. The Dover test comprises VR, NVER, maths and English and pass is by an aggregate score. The Dover Test is not recognised by KCC as valid for entrance to any other grammar school and a pass has not generally been considered a valid case by Independent Appeal Panels for other grammar schools.  As much as half of the intake is through the Dover Test.  Dover Girls with a PAN of 120 tends to organise into five classes so many (not all) of these will get in on appeal (both my clients did for 2013 entry). For 2013 entry, 34 qualified first choices turned away in March (including Dover qualified).  Dover Girls 17 successful appeals 2013, although numbers fell again to 122, as a number of offers made to Folkestone girls who subsequently won appeals to FSG. Year 7 for 2012 also had 17 successful appeals, but 133 children followed through to Year 8. OFSTED Nov 2013: Outstanding - the same as 2007. Some Excerpts: Information about the school -Dover Grammar School for Girls is a smaller than average-sized selective girls' school. It has a humanities specialism; The proportion of students for whom the school receives the pupil premium (additional government funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals, looked after children and service family children) is below average but above that of similar selective schools; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress; Boys are admitted into Year 12 and make up just under a sixth of the sixth form roll. A small number of students from a neighbouring school also attend for some sixth form lessons. Key findings - This is an outstanding school: Students and staff share a love of learning. Cut off distance for 2014 entry for girls who have passed either Kent Test or Dover Test is 6.331 miles. For 2014 appeals, Appeal Panel completely changed at last moment. No explanation forthcoming! Fully subscribed for 2014 entry, with 76 of its 120 places being awarded to girls who passed the Dover Test only. For 2015 admission, 87 of the 130 places were awarded to girls who passed the Dover Test only. Just one grammar qualified (by either route) first choice applicant turned down on allocation in 2015, presumably one of the 12 out of 29 appeals upheld. 95%5 GCSE A-Cs in 2015. Just 51 of the 130 places offered passed the Kent Test, the remainder by the Dover Test only. 25 grammar qualified first choices turned down. 14 out of 28 appeals upheld, which will have been a mixture of both those qualified and those not. For 2016 admission, 59 Kent Test qualified children were offered places and 71 Dover Test qualified. 19 grammar qualified girls (by either test) who put the school in first place were turned down. 14 out of 24 appeals were turned down, but I don't have a breakdown of the split. Attainment 8 score was 65.3 and Progress 8 above average at 0.34.

Duke of York's Academy, Dover. This once private school run by the MOD became a mainstream state funded part boarding academy with military traditions from September 2010, sponsored by the Secretary of State for Defence. Although it remains primarily focused on providing continuity of education for the children of those serving in the Armed Forces who live in the region,the current ratio of intake is 80% non-military 20% military, providing one of many important breaks with tradition. This priority is reflected in the oversubscription criteria, other children qualifying for access after all military preferences have been met, subject to a "Suitability for Boarding" assessment by the school which appears to offer no right of appeal if the child is turned down. In terms of cost alone, the boarding school offers excellent value for money: Boarding fees are £10,500 per year and education is paid for by the state. If parents qualify for Continuity of Education Allowance (Service families only), they could pay just £1,050 a year. One correspondent notes this equates to less than £40 per day for all boarding fees. The school has now concluded a £24 million building programme as a result of its change of status.  The school is going through a period of dramatic change since it became an academy, and forced to change its admission rules. The biggest difference is that the school has become non-selective; a dramatic change from its previous role as a private grammar school. After the final grammar intake takes its GCSEs this summer, one can expect to see a fall in examination success. The non-military intake is changing the ethos and, along with the change to an all ability school has come a rise in the proportion of children with Special Education Needs to 30%. As there were 35 vacancies after allocation in March 2011, presumably anyone wanting a boarding education was eligible for a place. Over half empty in March 2012 for September admissions, according to KCC, but school reports that (June 2012): "we are a state boarding school and can accept anyone from the European Economic Area who holds a British Passport or has the right to reside in the UK.  Our children come to us from various different countries.  Only early applicants for Ye OFSTED 2012 - Good. Excerpts: Information about this school - The Duke of York’s Royal Military School opened as an academy in September 2010 from its predecessor status as an independent boarding school; The predecessor school had strong links with the military, stretching back 200 years; The academy has maintained its military links and the well-established traditions in military music and military ceremonial activities; There are 438 students on roll; All students are boarders; There are 105 students in the sixth form; Three quarters of students are from families that have close military connections, including parents who are currently on active service; A new headteacher took up post in September 2012 and there have been several recent staff changes; Students come from many different backgrounds - The largest group is White British, but other main groups include Nepalese and those with other Asian backgrounds; A higher-than-average proportion of students does not speak English as a first language; A higher-than-average proportion of students is identified as requiring additional help; A smaller-than-average proportion of students has a statement of special educational needs; About half of the students are in receipt of the service premium - This is funding for students who have parents on active military service. mainly used to support students’ social and emotional well-being; The school meets the government’s floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. Key finding: This is a good school.  Critical Social Care OFSTED in late 2012. School is attempting to change its oversubscription criteria to shift this in favour of military, but as school is not oversubscribed, difficult to see how this would work. ar 7 go through KCC for DYRMS.  At this time we are completely full for boys and have a few spaces left for girls. We continue to accept enquiries and admissions throughout the year from families who have a need for full boarding (Forces families predominantly)". The planned admission number has fallen from 72 to 58 since becoming an academy, reflecting the declining demand for places. For entry in September 2014, the school offered just 23 places, a further sharp drop on the 39 of 2013, although because of its boarding character, numbers do tend to rise during the year, that figure having risen slightly to 42 children having taken up places by October 2013. According to KCC figures, 12 children who put the school in first priority on their secondary school application form for entry in 2014 were refused places. As the school was not full, this can only have been because they were found "Unsuitable for Boarding" by the school in the  "Suitability for Boarding" assessment. In March 2014, just 23 of its 58 places were taken up, although others from military families are admitted during the year. The number of places has been increased to 104 for, after large capital investment, although the school is losing popularity because of controversy, underlined by recent allegations, and also here. Last selective entry only secured 51% GCSE 5 A-Cs in 2015. 36 places filled for September 2016 entry on allocation, but this will increase. For example,up from 36 to 69 in 2015 by the time of the October Census.