Can anyone fill me in on the education system in Kent? We currently live in Sussex but may be edging further over to Tunbridge Wells direction, but I'm a bit confused about schools. Kent uses the grammar system for secondary, is that right? But according to reports, I think they are all super super selective, based on tests, distance to school etc. So far, it makes sense, but what I'd like to know is, if your child doesn't get in to a grammar, can you use the East Sussex comp system, rather than the secondary moderns in Kent (if that's what they are?) Would be good to get an insider view of what it's like around TW way -if the grammars are creaming off all the good students, and lots of people go private, what are the state secondaries like?
Also, re: primary schools (which is what we're currently looking at with DS). It's probably more of a general query but what happens if you live in a village and the local school won't take your child because it's full? Is it all based on distance from your home to the school with primary admissions?
Really new to all this hence my rather basic questions!!
That bit of West Kent has quite a few super-selectives. You would hope the result would be that the non-selectives get better results than those in other parts of Kent, given that locals will find it harder to get into them even if they are bright. I wouldn't know about that, though, as I live in Sussex. I know there is quite a lot of crossing the border between East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent when it comes to secondary schools - in East Grinstead, Sackville comprehensive school gets quite an intake of students from Edenbridge in Kent, and a tiny number of children from East Grinstead (West Sussex) even make the journey into super selective grammars in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells (decreasing the chances of those local to the grammars getting in, one would assume!). I think there is even more of a crossing over both ways between East Sussex and Kent, though, because parts of East Sussex are closer to the super-selectives than West Sussex is (from East Grinstead, it's quite a road-windy, longish journey to get to Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells just to go to school when the schools in East Grinstead aren't that bad!).
Many of the schools mentioned has been ofsted since that thread. it is worth looking at those reports.
Tunbridge Wells Grammar for boys have changed their admission priorities and now give preference for boys in inner circle (3 miles from school I believe) and then outer boys living in named kent parish prior to boys living outside the county.
Tunbridge Wells Grammar school for girls is a super selective their cut off was 413 for Inners, 414 for outers (the inner and outer following as named above.) this school was oversubscribed by about 20 in 2013
Skinners Grammar is a super selective for this years intake their break off was 412.
Judd in Tonbridge (boys) Super selective I think their break off was 418 for 2013 (but might have gone down to 417)
Tonbridge grammar (for girls) went "down" to a cut of mark of 411 for 2013 (was 412 in 2012) for inners however they took on an extra class this year. (So did Skinners and Judd btw without the drop)
Weald works on named towns priority being given to Kent and last category (e) being outside boundary of kent. Weald has put in a bid to set up a Annex in Sevenoaks,
Other schools in Tunbridge viewed Highly is Bennett Memorial have their open night Thursday 26th for this year St Gregorys. First COE 2nd Catholic. Both require church attendance to get into.
As far as selective schools go yes they are very selective, I have a sister at Weald of Kent and a brother at Tunbridge Wells Grammar for Boys and a lot of their friends from primary didn't get in to Grammar school, most of their friends are now at St Greg's or Hillview, which are both very good schools.
Skinners Kent Academy is worth looking into as it looks like a really good school but it is a relatively new school and none of my siblings have friends there so I couldn't tell you what it is like.
As for primary schools, it is done mostly by area unless you can get into one of the church schools.
Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar is not a super selective. It takes girls on any marks over the pass mark but has a very restricted intake, usually down to within 1 1/2 miles from the school. It has a small number of Governors places which are based on score. To give you an idea of how small the 'catchment' is, girls on the Frant Road/Forest Road area and in Langton Green (less than 2 miles as the crow flies) missed out on first intake.
Sussex schools will only take those from out of county if they have spaces. In previous years comps such as Beacon (Crowborough) and Uplands (Wadhurst) would have taken children from outlying Tunbridge Wells suburbs if they had spaces. The results from the Sussex comps, in particular Beacon, have improved remarkably in recent years so they are increasingly difficult to get into from out of county so I wouldn't rely on an East Sussex comp (rather than a Kent secondary modern) as an alternative if you live in Kent.
If you go to church and have done so for 3 years prior to application then Bennett and St Greg's are options. It's remarkable the number of people in Tunbridge Wells who discover religion when their oldest child is in year 3
Good primary schools in Tunbridge Wells are generally over-subscribed. Village schools near TW might have places but are under no obligation to provide places if you don't live in their area. CofE schools will have a priority for church goers and then distance. Attending a village school in Sussex (e.g. Groombridge St Thomas's or Frant Primary) won't affect your changes of getting a place at a Kent grammar, provided your DCs (a) pass, (b) pass well enough and (c) live close enough.