The number of candidates for the Medway Test is 185 higher than last year and for the first time I asked for a breakdown of the cohort by gender through my FOI request. This has produced the surprising results both that the number of boys applying for a grammar school place in September 2014 is 100 lower than the number of girls (although there are 42 fewer boys in the cohort), and also that the number of boys applying for a Review is 58 lower than the number of girls. This may contribute to the fact that Review successes for boys are less than a third of the total. As a consequence of the Review outcomes, the gap between success rates increases to 24.1% for boys as against 26.2% for girls.
|Outcomes of the 2013 Medway Test|
|Children in Cohort||Candidates||Successes||% successes||% of cohort|
|MEDWAY AUTOMATIC PASSES|
|MEDWAY REVIEW PASSES||boys||87||21||24||1.2%|
|MEDWAY TOTAL PASSES||boys||871||352||40||24.1|
Availability of Places
Currently in Medway there are 900 grammar school places available for next year's Year Seven entry, with just 746 qualified Medway children to fill them. Last year there were 131 vacancies in Medway grammar schools on allocation day 1st March, although 56 places have since been taken out for September 2014 (26 from Chatham Boys and 30 temporary places from Rainham Mark Grammar). With 52 more successful candidates this year there should still be sufficient places for all, as well as grammar school standard appeal candidates, even if not at the grammar school of choice. It is still not clear if Rainham Mark Grammar will reinstate the 30 temporary places for September if demand justifies it.
The cohort size confirms that the bottom of the fall in numbers of Medway children by age group reached secondary school last year, with primary school figures showing a year on year increase over the next seven years by a total of 366, a 13% increase over this time. In other words, within a few years Medway will need more grammar school places!
Regular browsers of this website will know my unhappiness about the inconsistent way that receiving an unsuccessful Review decision can be used at a subsequent appeal. The rules state that in such a case the appeal panel MUST only consider whether each child's review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way and only if there is no evidence that this has been done can the appeal panel consider other factors (This does not apply in Kent which uses a different process, the Head Teacher Assessment). Appeal panels for the five Medway grammar schools do not even apply a consistent approach to the rules, as explained here. I anticipate that appeal panels for the two Chatham Grammar schools will once again decide the Review process is unfair; the other four are more likely to determine it is fair!
Candidates from Outside Medway
|Candidates from Outside Medway|
As I have confirmed elsewhere, last year there was a net intake of 100 into Medway grammar schools from Kent from 277 children who gained Medway Test passes, so we can expect a similar figure this year. However, this picture is blurred because the two Chatham Grammar Schools accept a pass in either the Kent or the Medway Test (and can apply and appeal if they have taken but not passed either or both).
Note: The detailed figures for out of Medway were only provided after I made four different requests for the figures, the first three of which were ignored,, even when I threatened to complain yet again.