Huge rise in children from outside the county chasing grammar places

    Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School

    The number of pupils outside the county looking for places at Kent grammar schools has jumped by 44 per cent in the last four years.

    They passed a version of the 11-plus known as the ‘Kent Test’ which enables them to apply.

    The massive increase in interest in attending grammars in Kent comes amid political wrangling over the building of new selective schools, which is banned.

    Applicants from beyond the county borders rose from 1,488 to 2,145, though it is unlikely there will be enough spaces for them even if they do wish to attend a grammar in Kent – and they may not be accepted.
    In comparison, the number of places at selective schools in Kent has only increased by 8.5 per cent between 2014 and 2017.

    The total of 4,369 children from Kent who passed the test will enjoy priority if they decide to apply for one of the 4,959 places.

    Roger Gough, Kent County Council (KCC) cabinet member for education, said: “As in previous years many children from outside of Kent will be unsuccessful in their grammar school applications. This is due to the nature of the oversubscription criteria for Kent schools.

    “We anticipate a high proportion of the 2,145 pupils from outside of Kent will be naming Kent schools,” he added.

    “But experience also tells us the vast majority of these children ultimately secure school places in a variety of provisions in their home local authorities.”

    Prime Minister Theresa May took office in July promising to look again at the provision of new grammar schools, which has been outlawed since 1998.

    It also follows the granting of permission to open a new ‘annexe’ to the Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge, which will provide 450 places for girls in Sevenoaks from next September – and may prove to be a way around the ban.

    KCC are also considering plans to open a similar offshoot to one of the local boys’ grammar schools.

    11-PLUS: THE MATHS

    Number who sat the Kent Test

    2016: 13,724

    2017: 14,349

    Number assessed suitable for grammar schools

    2016: 6,259 (4,282 Kent, 1,966 out of county, 11 others such as ‘educated at home’)

    2017: 6,537 (4,369 Kent, 2,145 out of county, 23 others)

    Grammar school places available

    2016: 4,767.

    2017: 4,959