The homepage of the website for St Christopher’s School, an independent primary school in Canterbury, www.stchristopherscanterbury.org.uk, seen in July 2017, stated “100% grammar success in 2016”. Smaller text beneath the main claim stated “The Kent Test, the Dover Grammar School Test, the Shepway Test, and the Swale Grammar School Test were all used and the results indicate the wider geographical catchment area that we draw upon”.
The complainant challenged whether the claim “100% grammar success in 2016” was misleading and could be substantiated.
St Christopher’s School stated that children in Kent may take one of several tests to qualify for a particular grammar school place. Generally speaking, a qualifying grade in the Kent Test would qualify a child for all of the grammar schools, but in certain areas there was a separate test. They had mistakenly referred to the test for Medway grammar schools as the Swale test in the ad, but had now corrected this.
They said that pupils could be offered a grammar school place in several ways. Firstly, by an outright pass in any of the tests. Alternatively, if the child had underperformed in any way, there was an option to appeal to a panel who would consider any extraneous circumstances affecting the child in the examination, and their class work. If the panel considered that the child should rightly have passed the examination, they would grant them a pass. St Christopher’s School said they did not distinguish between pupils who had attained their places through either of these routes. In 2016, all of the children at the school who took the tests were offered grammar school places. They therefore believed that the ad was not misleading.
The ASA considered that visitors of the website would understand “100% grammar success in 2016” to mean that all pupils at St Christopher’s who had applied for a grammar school place in 2016 obtained one. We considered that visitors to the website would likely be familiar with the Kent grammar school system and understand that not all children in the relevant year group would necessarily take the tests. We understood that, in 2016, twenty pupils at the school took one or other of the tests for entry to Kent grammar schools, and that all of them had subsequently been offered a place at a grammar school. We therefore concluded that the claim had been substantiated and was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.