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Wednesday, 04 April 2018 10:23

Medway Non Selective Secondary Allocations 2018

Note: This article includes the out of county information I have now received from Medway Council. This is much more significant for grammar schools, and I have also now incorporated this into my Medway Grammar School article.  

76% of children offered places in Medway’s eleven secondary schools on allocation in March were given their first choice school. All but 55 of the 1645 non-selective secondary school places available were filled a vacancy rate of just 3.3%, nearly all in two schools, St John Fisher Catholic and Hundred of Hoo Academy. This takes into account the net 30 places taken out of two schools since the 2017 allocations.

Brompton Academy

The most oversubscribed school was, as it has been for many years, Brompton Academy, turning away 193 first preferences or 47% of the total, the second highest figure across both Kent and Medway. Just four more of the eleven non-selective schools turned away children who put them first: Thomas Aveling school – 70; Strood Academy – 35; Rainham Girls – 17; and Howard School 15.

136 Medway children received no school of their choice and were allocated places in local schools (Local Authority Allocations or LAA) by Medway Council, 58 at St John Fisher Catholic and 41 at Victory Academy.

Further details below.

You will find the parallel article on Kent non-selective schools here

Please note that there will be some 'churning' as successful appeals for grammar school places remove some children from the non-selective schools. There were 93 successful appeals at Medway grammars last year; as well as 25 at Medway non-selective schools, just 19% of those heard.

Two new non-selective schools are planned for Medway, as described here, although planning approval already appears behind schedule.

Out of Medway pupils
39 pupils from outside Medway took up places in Medway schools, the large majority at Greenacre and Walderslade Girls. 52 of the 106 going out of Medway are due to travel the other way down Bluebell Hill to Aylesford, Holmesdale and Malling schools. Another 29, most of the rest, are heading to the two Catholic schools, St Johns’s in Gravesend and St Simon Stock in Maidstone, presumably to avoid Medway’s unpopular Catholic school, St John Fisher.

The following table provides most of the relevant information, with notes about some individual schools below.

Medway Secondary Non Selective Allocations March 2018
 
Places
Available
1st Prefs
 
LAA 
Total
Offers 
1st Prefs
not
Offered 
Vacancies 
Brompton Academy* 230
409 0 230 193  0
Greenacre Academy 200 161 10 199   0 1
Howard School 250 219 0 250 15 0
Hundred of Hoo 280 203  12  260 0 20
Rainham Girls 
270
232
0 
270 
17 
0
Robert Napier 190 111  11  190  0  0 
St John Fisher Catholic 180 56  58  153  0  27 
Strood Academy*  250  248  0  250  35  0 
Thomas Aveling 195 233  0  195  70  0 
Victory Academy 240 151  41  236  0 4 
Walderslade Girls 160 112  4  157 0  3 

Note: * Refers to schools that apply a Fair Banding Test, see below for details. 

Please note that there will be some churning as successful appeals for grammar school places remove some children from the system. There were 93 successful appeals at Medway grammars last year, as well as 25 at Medway non-selective schools, just 19% of those heard.

Two new non-selective schools are planned for Medway, as described here, although planning approval already appears behind schedule.

Fair Banding Test
Brompton and Strood Academies set the Fair Banding Test for all applicants. If your child has not taken this, they will be the last children to be considered for places. at the schools. It is explained by Medway Council here. It is not a pass/fail test, but designed to give each school a fair spread of abilities in its intake. The test places children in an ability band, numbers in each band to be admitted allocated according to a ‘normal’ distribution. Children are then prioritised in each band by distance. Because some 25% of children are taken out for grammar school places, this leaves fewer candidates for the highest bands.
 
Brompton Academy
Consistently Medway’s most popular school, turning away 193 first preferences. Although it has a Planned Admission Number (PAN) of 210, it managed to find space for 250 pupils in 2017, falling to 230 in 2018, presumably because of lack of room. Just six out of 69 appeals were upheld last year, four out of 66 in 2016, so chances of success are again likely to be low.
 
Hundred of Hoo Academy
A previous article looks at issues within the school. The school’s official PAN is 270. It was temporarily and pointlessly raised to 300 in 2017, given that the school had 44 vacancies that year. It was lowered this year to 280 and still had 20 vacancies after 12 LAAs were added in.
 
Robert Napier School
Has increased in popularity in recent years. Decided to offer an additional ten places for 2018, just filling, to take in all possible applicants including 10 LAAs. Like other non-selective schools will lose some of these to churning over the next few months, including successful appeals to grammar schools, but a sensible tactic.
 
St John Fisher Catholic School
A highly critical Ofsted Report last year did nothing to improve the public perception that this is the Medway school to avoid. Just 56 first preferences, 37% of total is less than half of all but one other Medway school. Indeed, there are more LAAs than first preferences at 58. The school is also unable to hold its natural recruiting area amongst Catholics and Catholic Primary schools (the latter according to families I have advised), with the two closest Kent Catholic schools offering places to 30 children from Medway. But see very positive comment below about recent actions suggesting the school has last last woken up.
Question: why when Kent's Catholic schools are falling over each other in a stampede to become academies, are none of the Medway Catholic schools going down the same route? 
 
Strood Academy
A popular school, recently taken over by the Leigh Academy Trust, attracting pupils off the Hoo Peninsula. Just two out of 19 appeals upheld last year.
 
Thomas Aveling School
As usual, second most oversubscribed school in Medway, attracting applicants from the neighbourhoods of less popular schools nearby. It turned away 70 first choices this year. Success rate at appeal is usually low, just six out of 36 appeals upheld in 2017.
 
Victory Academy
In spite of its recent Good Ofsted Report, Victory still has to overcome its difficult history in terms of attracting pupils, but numbers are rising year on year. For 2017 the school had 71 vacancies, so to fill as it has done for 2018, even with the aid of the 41 LAAs, is a great leap forward. It should be the case that some of the LAAs will take a second look at the school, and stay. 
Last modified on Monday, 09 April 2018 10:29

3 comments

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 02 May 2018 20:13 posted by Deb

    Strange the the Hundred of Hoo school twitter feed had a statement on 1st March that they were oversubscribed! PETER: Strange indeed. I have checked the official Medway allocation data. This tells us that the Planned Admission Number was 270, but the school agreed to take up to 280 pupils (300 in 2017). There was a total of just 260 pupils offered places, leaving 10 or 20 vacancies according to interpretation. 12 of these were Local Authority Allocations, i.e. children offered places who did not apply for the school. You cannot place LAAs in an oversubscribed school.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 12 April 2018 00:14 posted by Michele

    You appear to think chances of appeal at Brompton are few. Have you any advice? PETER: It has certainly been very difficult in the past and I suspect only a very exceptional case has been successful. I am often asked what one of these is. If you can't see one for your child immediately, that will stand her out amongst others, then you haven't got one! If you need to think one up, you are wasting your time I am afraid. Sorry, but you need to focus on alternatives, which I think are improving year on year. Of course Brompton could decide to put on an extra form, so it may be worth staying in the hunt, but don't rely on it!

  • Comment Link Sunday, 08 April 2018 23:24 posted by Nicola

    Hi Peter - I can you see you writing a very different report with regards to St John Fisher in 1-2 years time. The school now has a senior leadership team in place with the two latest recruits coming from outstanding London based catholic schools. These new additions to the leadership team with their joint experience of what does and doesn't work has got to add value and improve the direction of the school. The school is also being rebuilt ( I think the plan is to start in July) due obtaining PSBP2 grant, hopefully it will be designed by Nicholas Hare and built by BAM so that it is to the same standard as Strood Academy's award winning building. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts. PETER: Delighted to hear this all, including the design of the new buildings. Some shocking ones are being approved under new government economy regulations. Some will argue I take pleasure in exposing a school's inadequacies. I don't but they need showing up for a number of reasons. First to warn potential and actual parents. Second to put in the public eye schools that are paining a false picture (far too many of these); and thirdly, to encourage such schools to change and put things right. I despair of schools such as Oasis Isle of Sheppey and Ebbsfleet Academies that fail under the last two measures (most parents don't need warning any more) and yet no one seems to care. It looks as if St John Fisher is now avoiding these last two traps (but confession is good for the soul they say!) and is at last on the way back. Pity about the casualties. Good signs also at Victory Academy!

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