Last updated: December 2016
Telephone Consultation Service
For most families, choice of primary schools, and completion of the Common Application form is straightforward. If, however, your circumstances are such that this is a difficult issue feel free to use my Telephone Consultation Service for impartial, knowledgeable and frank advice.
There is more information, advice and comment on the School Admission Code page.
I am happy to provide advice through my telephone consultation service on primary admissions or appeals (but read Appeals for the difficulties with appeals). I have additional information on oversubscription levels and grammar school successes for individual schools across the county, that assist in informing my unique independent advice service on primary admissions.
For parents applying for any school in Kent outside the normal admission round, you should approach individual schools directly to apply, although you are of course to be encouraged to talk to them in advance of an application. In Medway, you need to approach the Local Education Authority for an In Year Admission Form. You will find further details here.
News and Information Items relevant to Kent & Medway Primary School Admission for September 2017
Information on Individual Schools is here.
- There are standard application forms known as the Reception Common Application Form (RCAF) and Junior Common Application Form (JCAF). Parents can also apply on-line here, and I recommend this process.
- Primary school admissions are straightforward for most parents, with similar rules for entry to most schools, except church voluntary aided schools.
- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR THE CORRECT SCHOOL. EACH YEAR, I AM CONTACTED BY PARENTS WHO HAVE PUT DOWN THE WRONG SCHOOL BY MISTAKE, ALMOST ALWAYS TWO SCHOOLS WITH SIMILAR NAMES, OFTEN CHURCH SCHOOLS WITH THE SAME SAINT IN THE TITLE! YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR CHOICE, ONLY APPLY AGAIN LATE THROUGH THE In Year Admission process. However, if the school is full, an appeal is unlikely to be successful because of Infant Class Legislation. The worst scenario I have come across in recent years was a Gravesend child being offered a school in Dover, because parents ticked the box for a school with a very similar name to the one they intended.
- If applying for a Kent or Medway primary school place for September 2017 or January 2018 at the normal age of admission, you MUST complete an admission form by 16 January 2017, whether on-line or by paper application. This allows you to name three schools in order of preference if you live in Kent, four in Medway. If you don't have one, a Kent admission prospectus for your area can be downloaded at Primary, for Medway at Medway.
- There is no need to put your local school down in first place; enter the one you most want your child to attend. You will not damage your chances at your local school by putting it in a lower order.
- For all junior, infant and primary community and voluntary controlled schools, most primary academies, free and foundation schools and some voluntary aided schools, the rules for allocating places if the school is oversubscribed, are the same. First priority in Kent goes to 1) Looked After children; then in order 2) (relevant only to junior schools where there is a linked infant school) attendance at the relevant infant school; 3) sibling link; 4) health, social and special access reasons (health and special access to Halling Primary only in Medway); 5) nearness of children's home to school. Medway is the same, except that there is an additional priority after (3) given to children who complete the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) and qualify under the rules for church denominational voluntary controlled schools. In both Authorities if there is any doubt at all as to your eligibility under one of these categories, you MUST consult the relevant Kent (divided into Districts) or Medway prospectus to check details (I am unable to go into the fine detail here). Most of such decisions rest on distance, which is "as the crow flies" in Kent, and "by the shortest safe walking route in Medway" two very different measures. Both authorities give the furthest distance out that places were offered in 2016, which is a useful guide. However, it can change quite dramatically if there is a much higher or lower number of siblings who have priority, so it may be worthwhile contacting the school to see if they expect a significantly different number. However, the comment in the previous section still applies.
- If applying for a primary academy, free, foundation or voluntary aided school, make sure you understand the admission rules and have filled in the supplementary admission form, if one is required. For church schools in this category, read the rules well in advance to see what you must do to qualify under the relevant category. For those reading this page outside the normal admission round, such rules should also be looked at well in advance, to see what conditions will apply for an application to stand a chance of success.
- You will find primary school league tables here. These need to be treated with extreme caution. They are heavily influenced by (1) the ability of pupils admitted to the school – see the most recent OFSTED Report for details of attainment for local schools on entry, on my Kent or Medway Primary School individual school information pages. or for a single school by direct link to OFSTED here. (2) the importance the school places on achieving high SATs results as distinct from educating the pupils. I have posted details of Kent Primary School admission and appeal statistics for 2014 entry here.
- If your child is at Infant School and you do not wish to transfer to a Linked Junior School, you can apply for other Junior Schools on the JCAF, or for any all through primary school school on an In Year Application Form, although chances that it will have vacancies are low, and you may have to try through the appeal process. Infant Class Legislation does not apply for such appeals.
- Key dates for Kent & Medway applications are
Key Dates in Scheme
Closing Date for RCAFs/JCAFs
Thursday 16th January 2017 (Kent & Medway)
Offer day (posted or on line after 4 p.m.)
Tuesday 18th April 2017(Kent & Medway)
Date by which places should be accepted or declined
Wednesday 17th May 2017 (Kent & Medway)
Councils re-allocate places that have become available
Monday 12th June 2017 (Kent)
Wednesday 24th May 2017 (Medway)