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Friday, 30 October 2015 19:37

Kentadvice.co.uk: The Website over the past fortnight

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Once again, the last fortnight in October has proved exceptionally busy for the website, with 19,621 different visitors after the publication of the Kent Test Results on the 14th. In all, a total of 26,846 visits were made, in one of the two busiest times of the year (the other being the first fortnight in March when school allocations were made). Because of the specialist nature of the site, these will be predominantly visitors seeking information and advice on school admissions and appeals in Kent and Medway.

In the hours after the Kent Test results came out, there were 3,931 visits to the site on the same day, 14th October, with the busiest day in the period coming on the 15th, with 4,229 separate visitors.  

Overall, in the fortnight, 18,823 visits were made to the Kent Grammar Schools information page with 5,688 browsers looking at the news page on Kent Test Results. Other popular pages were: ....

Kent Grammar School Appeals advice – 2,583; Kent secondary school admissions 1,825; information on the Medway Grammar school admissions-  1,615; the index page referring browsers onto Individual Kent secondary schools and academies at 1,284; and the news page on Medway Test results – now up to 1,163.

The Kent Grammar Schools information page remains the most popular over the five years this version of the website has been running, at 191,090 visits overall. My news article on the KCC Review of the Kent Test (now three years old), comes in third at 102,727 visits. Kent secondary school admissions is now up to 75,503 visits.

The number of regular subscribers through email or RSS has now risen to above 1,000, each receiving a copy of all news and blog items (although these are not counted in the published article visitor numbers). In addition to the high proportion of families who subscribe, these include many education professionals in schools and local authorities, members of the media, and local politicians.

Confirmed figures for the most recent year available show that the website attracted 193,432 certified visits from 116,376 users in the year, 57% of whom were new visitors. 

As regular browsers will know, I am afraid that I also made the decision not to offer any individual consultations over this period, as I am recovering from an operation. I have still attempted to give a brief response to all who have emailed me with some details about their situation. I hope that has proved helpful.

As always, the KCC Admissions Service free Helpline has proved very helpful to many parents with advice, Medway less so, but is constrained by not being able to make value judgments. Unfortunately, Freedom of Information requests about admissions and the Kent Test have spiraled completely out of hand this year, with far too many enquiries just "out of interest", with no particular need for the information, except sometimes to boast about it on a forum. As a consequence, KCC Admissions and FOI Departments have been completely overwhelmed, and more important urgent admission issues have almost certainly suffered as a consequence. Abuse of the system helps no one.  

www.kentdvice.co.uk is a unique website nationally, taking an independent view on offering information, advice, comment and news about education matters in Kent and Medway, as they directly affect families. I receive many enquiries from elsewhere in the country, asking why no one else offers a similar service, but it is not for me to say.

What I do know is that the site is highly valued by many visitors, but disliked to varying degrees by some in authority, as it continues to shine a light into places some people would not wish to be open to public scrutiny.

Sadly, as happens too often, much of my analysis is reproduced on other websites without any acknowledgement. I am happy for it to be made widely available, that is the purpose of publishing it, but without the source, browsers are not aware of what else is available. A particular 'bête noire' of mine begins something like "I have carried out research and found out that...." when the data can only have come from Kentadvice after considerable work by me analysing data I have requested. Even when my name is banned, as on the 11 Plus Exams Forum, courteous posters offer a clue as to the source to guide browsers. 

Whilst I have not yet made a decision on the future of my personal consultancy, it is my firm intention to continue with the website for the foreseeable future, as long as it is valued.

My only regret is that with over 600 pages now published on the site, I find it increasingly difficult to keep up to date, and rely on browsers to let me know where I have fallen behind and when they wish me to renew particular pages.

You will have noticed that I have now begun to take in advertising, in order to fund the cost of the website, current advertisers recognising the value of such a targeted audience. I am happy to respond to further enquiries about this service. 

Read 1181 times Last modified on Monday, 02 November 2015 20:02

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