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Please note, as recorded elsewhere I have retired from offering a full appeals service.

However, I am happy to offer my Telephone Consultation Service for school admission and appeal matters to Kent and Medway families, looking to Kent and Medway non-selective and grammar schools.

If you wish to find out more, please go to the Contact Me page, for further details and complete the form as fully as possible.

I have been working with local families for thirteen years, and so have gathered unrivalled and independent experience and knowledge in the areas described in the pages of this website. In particular, I hope the large amount of free information and advice provided in the Information Section at the top right of this page will answer many potential queries.

For grammar school admissions and appeal advice, I do not provide general background before test results are known, as it becomes too speculative.

Published in News and Comments
Friday, 22 September 2017 19:42

Appeal Outcomes in Kent, Kent Panel Results

This article looks at school admission appeals in Kent and Medway heard by Appeal Panels organised by the two Local Authorities. I will publish another article later when I have outcomes of appeals set up by schools themselves, either using a commercial or professional organisation, or else organised by the school. 

The success rate for grammar appeals has risen from 32% in 2016, to 37%. This was helped by sharp rises at several schools, led by the Invicta Grammar with a success rate up from 60% to an astonishing 89% for the 65 girls appealing, a rate so high it can only bring the system into disrepute.

At the other end of the scale, the four Dartford grammar schools were the only ones with a success rate of less than 10%, indeed the only schools below 25%, headed up by Dartford Girls Grammar, with NO successful appeals out of 93 heard.

For non-selective schools, the success rate fell from 32% to 23%. Trinity, Sevenoaks, saw all five appeals succeed with St Anselm’s Catholic 79% of the 11 appeals heard. Both St Simon Stock Catholic (30 heard) and George’s CofE, Gravesend (6) turned down all appeals.

For primary schools, just one success each in Kent and Medway schools where Infant Class Legislation applies.

Further details below, along with a report of the untimely death of  Frank Pinnington, one of the best Appeal Administrators in the business. 

Published in News and Comments

I now have appeal outcomes for nearly every secondary school in Kent that held appeals in the past school year. 

I don't proposed to publish individual outcomes as these can be very misleading and some change dramatically year on year; so are not a good guide to future appeal results. In any case, a successful appeal depends not only on the strength of the parental case, the defence put up by the school against admitting additional children, and the pressure on places,  but also the way the appeal panel operates.  

There is much more information about appeals in the appeal sections of this website (right hand panel) or for some schools in the individual school information section (also via right hand panel). 

The majority of appeals held in Kent are heard by Independent Appeal Panels organised by Kent County Council who provide panels for community, foundation, voluntary aided schools, and academies. However 14 Kent non-selective schools, 15 grammar schools and all Medway secondary schools use appeal panels provided by other organisations or, in a very few cases, organised by themselves.

The following tables show the outcomes of independent appeals for these groups of schools, although there is a wide range of outcomes for individual schools, varying year on year. 

 Kent & Medway School Secondary School Appeal Outcomes 2013
Kent County Council Appeal Panels
Type of School
Number of
Appeals
Appeals 
Upheld
Appeals
Rejected
Appeals 
withdrawn
Place offered
before appeal
% successful
appeals of those
heard
Non-selective
(14 schools)
 196  58  30  53  54 66
 Grammar 
(18 schools)
904  382  432  90  5 46
      Kent and Medway Appeals managed by other organisations
 Non-selective
(15 schools)
408 86 168 63 89 34
 Grammar
((18 schools)
567  244  241  54  32 50

Several non-selective schools set up appeals included in the above, but ended up offering places to all appellants, either because the schools expanded numbers or other children offered places dropped out probably after successful grammar school appeals. This movement creates what I call the churning effect as parents trade upwards, which has seen more movement this year than most. These schools included (but don't assume this will also happen for 2014 entry): Brockhill Park; Canterbury High; King Ethelbert; Rainham School for Girls; St Simon Stock; and Westlands and Wrotham. 

At the other end of the scale,........

Published in News Archive

The main secondary school appeals are now ended, although places are still being freed up, mainly in non-selective schools through movement in waiting lists. This article is an overview of the latest situation across Kent and Medway, although I am happy to be corrected on details or to add in additional items. In particular,  information on non-selective school situations would be helpful.

 For grammar schools, the main pressure area has been West & North West Kent for boys,   with Tunbridge Wells Grammar school for Boys having 89 appeals, and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys having around 70. As a result Kent County Council came under considerable pressure  from families whose sons had passed the 11+, but had no grammar school place. In the event,  nearly all of these boys have been offered places off waiting lists or at appeals, with TWGSB taking 32 at appeal, Wilmington over 30,  Gravesend Grammar taking in nearly all who had passed without the need to go to appeal. 

Oakwood Park in Maidstone has also taken up a number of these and, after appeals, now has 164 places allocated, leaving its additional form of entry only part filled. As a result, this OFSTED ‘Outstanding school’  is surprisingly still welcoming applications from anyone who has passed and should be able to offer the vacant places without appeal.   I believe that otherwise all these schools are now full, along with Skinners, Judd, Dartford Grammar Boys and Maidstone Grammar. Interestingly, admission authorities can accept a second appeal .......“because of a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent or child”.  For example, if your child comes up with two Level 5s in the recent SATs it may be worthwhile  asking  a grammar school with vacancies if it will consider a second appeal (it has an absolute right to say no). ......... 

Published in News Archive

The Local Government Ombudsman has today (July 6th) published a highly critical report on the Independent Appeal Panel for Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls for entry last September (2010). Whilst no fault was found with the school's actions (apart from engaging a Kent County Council Panel), KCC itself comes in for heavy criticism on a variety of fronts:........

Published in News Archive

Regular browsers of this website will be be well aware of my concerns about the accountability of academies. I have just posted my initial advice and views on complaints about Independent Panels set up by academies to hear admission appeals. Sadly, I am very disappointed.......

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 02 June 2011 00:00

Complaints about Academies

The following table gives a breakdown of the data for complaints to the EFA about Academy and Free School Appeals for the past two years, 2015-2017. You will find an article expanding on these figures here.   

Complaints to the EFA about Academy
and Free School Appeals
  National  Kent Medway
   15-16 16-17 15-16 16-17  15-16  16-17
 Total
Complaints
 227  234  25  21  3 4
 Possible
Injustice
 14  6  o  o  0  0
Maladministration
without Injustice
 21  15  0  1  1  0
No
Maladministration
 133  164

 25

 18  2

3

Decision
Outstanding
 0  33   0  2  0  1

You can see that success rates have halved since my previous data collection in 2011, below. 

A. Maladministration that the YPLA considers may have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision a fresh appeal is required to be heard by a different panel.

B. Maladministration that the YPLA does not consider to have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision no fresh appeal is required

C. No maladministration.

OUTCOMES OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT ADMISSION APPEAL PANEL ADMINISTRATION MADE TO YPLA BEFORE 30 SEPTEMBER 2011

Total received

Decision Pending / Awaiting Further Info from parent or Clerk A* B* C* Parent Withdrew Complaint
National 107 16 7 3 78 3
Kent County Council Area 18 0 4 1 13 0
Medway Council Area 0 - - - - -

* Letters refer to decisions in previous paragraph.

Compared to Ombudsman decisions, there is a remarkably low proportion of successful complaints settled so far. Of course it may be that those where decisions are pending include a higher proportion of cases which may be settled in favour of the complainant.

By comparison, for 2010 entry, the Local Government Ombudsman heard 1403 school admission complaints nationally, fairly similar proportionately, given the number of schools involved. For Kent in 2010, there were 35 complaints to the Ombudsman about school admissions for county/community schools although the outcomes are not recorded. Kent foundation and voluntary aided schools produced 77 complaints of which 30 were the subject of local settlements (this means in general that the complaints were upheld with a fresh appeal or a recommendation to admit directly to the school), and in Medway, 6 out of 18 were upheld.

There thus appears to be a dramatic fall in the chances of success for complaints about academies, three possible reasons being as follows. Firstly, those still pending may produce a higher proportion of success, as they may be the subject of further investigation, but this would still leave the chances of success much lower. Secondly, the process of determining outcomes has significant differences. Normally in Ombudsman cases, there is discussion of the issues arising between the parties so that all have a chance to comment on the other's case. The complainant usually sees the appeal clerk's notes and the admission authority's comments on the case. he is then able to challenge any wrong information put forward. The Ombudsman issues a provisional view which either side can challenge and put forward further information. On the other hand, with the EFA, the academy gets to see the complaint, but the parent does not see their response - this is clearly unfair! There may be limited informal discussion, but the first real indication one has of the  outcome is the final decision. Thirdly, the Ombudsman website is packed with information and advice on complaints, backed up by a telephone support line. There is no such help available for complaints to the YPLA.  There is solely information on the address to send a complaint to. One of the massive frustrations reported by schools and parents alike, is the difficulty in contacting real people - telephone numbers all too often lead to message boards where no one answers!

I am happy to be corrected on any of the above views or information.

Thursday, 16 September 2010 00:00

Can I help you, and how much will it cost?

I am continuing to offer my Telephone (or FaceTime) Consultation Service to families living in the Local Authority areas of Kent and Medway, relating to Kent and Medway schools as explained below. I also extend this service to the many expatriate families moving back to Kent, and others moving into the area, although not to speculative out of county families seeking Kent grammar schools. I am afraid I have retired from offering the full appeals service which has operated for the past twelve years. 

Basic Information

You may wish to  first visit the Education website or telephone the Department for factual advice, as below.

Kent County Council: Education Website, here. School Admissions (and other education departments), telephone: 03000 41 21 21.

Email: kent.admissions@kent.gov.uk

Medway Council: Education Website here. Telephone: 01634 306 000.

Email: customer.relations@medway.gov.uk

Enquirers find the Kent County Council Schools website and Admissions Department especially helpful. Many parents find that Medway Council is not helpful, nor correct in its advice, which can vary from family to family. 

Both departments should be able to provide you with any factual information you need to assist you to make a decision, but are not allowed to offer you opinion, nor compare different options.

If your child is currently at school, you should also talk to their headteacher, who is likely to have a good knowledge of local schools and more importantly, should know your child.  

 

Can I help you.

I can only help you if:

  1. You live in Kent or Medway Local Authority Areas and your enquiry is about school matters in these areas. The exception is for families seeking to move into Kent or Medway, who want to find out about local schools in the area they are considering, often moving from abroad.
  2. You provide me with as much relevant information as possible to enable me to see if I can help.

What I offer

I have retired from my full personal appeals advice service, but am able to offer a range of advice on many aspects of education. This is based on a life-time in education, and twelve years of working with parents offering advice, based on my extensive knowledge of local matters, backed up by a unique and wide database of information, much of which is reproduced in this website in the information pages, indexed on the right hand side of this page. .

Areas of expertise include: advice on primary and secondary school admissions and appeals; looking for schools for those wishing to move here from elsewhere in the UK, and expatriates. Some aspects of Special Education. For other educational matters covered in these pages, let me know what you seeking and I can advise if I am able to assist.

My service.
This is provided through a Telephone or FaceTime Consultation, usually for half an hour, cost £55, but this can be extended as needs be. I will advise you before any payment, if I anticipate any further need for time. In all cases, please give me as much relevant information to enable me to see if I can help. I will then endeavour to provide you with my preliminary observations about your situation, to enable you to decide if you wish to progress.

Secondary and Primary School Appeals

I am afraid I am now only able to offer support for appeals through a Telephone Advisory Consultation before you begin the appeal process.  

For infant class appeals, please supply me with any reason you are aware of that could overcome Infant Class Legislation (see Primary page).
 
 
Next Step
In all cases, please first complete the contact me form, with details relevant to your enquiry to see if I can assist.
I will get back to you as soon as possible by phone or email to discuss possibilities and provide preliminary advice where appropriate. .
The information required will vary according to the schools concerned, but for grammar school admission or appeal this would include:
Your child's individual test scores (available from the primary school in Kent), or provided in Medway
Was there a Kent headteacher assessment (available from the primary school), or a Medway Review (details sent with your decision)? 
The town or village where you live;
Your child's current school;
Schools you are considering;
Any other relevant factors;
A contact telephone number.
 
All communications are confidential, unless you authorise me otherwise.

Published in What I Offer