Choosing a secondary school


High Schools, Grammar Schools, Independent Schools, Academies, Church Schools, University Technical Colleges, specialist schools in business or information technology or mathematics, plus the potential for the establishment of Free Schools; parents and young people face a wide range of options when the time comes for applying for a secondary school place.

The rules and methods of application vary from year to year so the advice is to check the Council web site for current information. If you pay your council tax to Medway it is; www.medway.gov.uk/education  If you pay to Kent – www.kent.gov.uk/education East Sussex schools www.eastsussex.gov.uk   In principle these should cover applications to state funded institutions; for independent schools applications are usually direct to the school. The grammar system in Kent and Medway means that there is a timetable of tests to be aware of, whose results, for those who sit them, will influence the application process.

Most schools publish information indicating who they give preference to if they are oversubscribed, for example applicants living close to the school or having older brothers or sisters at the school. This information may be published in a booklet by the Council or by the school itself.  There is an assumption that ‘children will attend the nearest appropriate school’ and any financial support for travel is usually based on this.

The main advice, in addition to bearing in mind the above, is to read the prospectus [available from the school] and attend the open evening of any school of interest to get a feel of the ethos of the institution. What is important will vary from individual to individual; factors may include: how the pupil support system operates, how any special needs are supported, examination results from previous years, recent OFSTED reports, which sports and clubs are available, the range of subjects on offer in the sixth form and so forth. By attending several open evenings comparisons between institutions can be made which may be helpful when deciding which to put on the application form.

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