Although Rainham Mark Grammar School has offered an additional 30 places, increasing the number of places in the system, and pupil rolls in Medway continue to fall, the proportion of children offered their first preference school has fallen year on year, and the number being offered none of their choices has more than doubled this year, from 40 to 90. The reason for this is quite simple; parental choice is polarising. Brompton Academy remains the most oversubscribed school in Medway, turning away 84 first choices, nearly twice as many as Thomas Aveling School. Close behind comes Strood Academy (clearly having overcome its teething troubles as a new academy, which meant it had spaces last year) and then Rainham School for Girls. The other oversubscribed non-selective schools are Greenacre School and The Howard School. With Walderslade Girls almost filling, the other four non-selective schools have 295 spaces between them, even after absorbing the 90 Local Authority allocations, a figure that will only increase as appeals and waiting lists at the popular schools absorb children.
The grammar schools are clearly also feeling the effect of falling rolls, with Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School seeing the sharpest decline, although still turning away 5 qualified first choices. Rochester Grammar also saw its level of oversubscription fall away, which will have an effect on the cut off score, whilst Fort Pitt has not filled for the first time in some years, perhaps due to its dramatic change in priority catchment area. This decline is mainly explained by the fall in the pass rate in the Medway Test, the surplus going off to Rainham Mark, although its increased roll sees it just about fill. Both the Chatham Grammar Schools have plenty of vacant spaces, some of which will be filled by successful appeals. Note that the rules state that grammar schools will leave places unfilled if there are insufficient applicants of a grammar school standard assessed through the Medway Test or on appeal.