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Monday, 02 March 2015 11:56

Kent & Medway Secondary School Allocations: Initial Statistics

Update: Cut off scores for Dartford, Dartford Girls, Judd, Skinners, TGS, Rainham Mark Grammar and Rochester Grammar below.

Kent and Medway secondary allocation figures have been published today, both Kent and Medway figures showing a worrying fall in the proportion of children being awarded any of the four schools (six in Medway) on their secondary school application form, with 641 Kent children and 155 Medway children not getting any school they have chosen. This is a rise of 237 children in Kent and by a considerable margin the highest proportion in recent years, with 4.03% of the total being allocated places by KCC. In Medway, there has been an increase in Local Authority allocations in each of the past four years, taking the LA allocation figure to a record 5.0%. 

The four key factors in these worsening figures are likely to be: a further increase of 227 in the number of Kent pupils to be found places in our schools, with Medway increasing by 111 having come out of a sharp fall up to 2013; the increasing polarisation of choices, as families chase the more popular and successful schools, at the expense of some non-selective schools that are seeing numbers shrink as families seek to avoid them; an alarming surge in out of county applicants being offered places in Kent secondary schools, rising by 155 to 757;  and the removal of 300 places in Kent since the publication of the 2014 allocations following the closure of the Chaucer Technology College in Canterbury (which happened in 2014 after the allocation numbers were published) and the recently announced closure of Oasis Hextable Academy.      

Overall, 81% of both Kent and Medway children were awarded their first choice school, down on 2014. 296 fewer Kent pupils were awarded their first preference this year than in 2014, whereas in Medway it increased by 76, although at a slower rate than the overall increase in numbers.  These falls in proportion of first choices awarded probably accounted for by the above factors, but I will know further when I receive a reply to my FOI request for more detailed information in the next few weeks. 

Last year I published parallel articles on Kent and Medway allocations for 2014 admission.  

Kent Allocations

Nationally, there is concern about the number of school places being created, and in Kent we should certainly have seen at least a further 250 places (one large new school) being provided this year and every year to keep pace with the increase in the school population. Some schools will have expanded to meet demand, but this appears to be happening mainly in the grammar school sector, with Queen Elizabeth's in Faversham being the first to break the glass ceiling and add a form of entry in the face of assertions that grammars could not legally be expanded. It has now been followed by Dartford, Dartford Girls, Judd, Sir Roger Manwood’s, Skinners, and Wilmington Boys. An alternative is to see the mantra "every school should be a good school" turned into reality, for some of those 641 children allocated places by KCC will have the nightmare of being offered schools that are unacceptable to them for quite understandable reasons. In total, there are around a thousand empty spaces across Kent's secondary schools. Other families will now look more closely at schools they have not or would not initially consider and find they are not so bad after all. 

This year, the schools with the highest number of first choices, over and above the capacity of the school: are Dartford Grammar (179); St George's, Broadstairs (129); Valley Park, Maidstone (118); Dartford Girls (106); Skinners, Tunbridge Wells (100); Fulston Manor, Sittingbourne (95); and King Ethelbert, Birchington (80). 

So what next? If you are not awarded the school of your choice, then certainly go on the waiting list for every school you have applied for and wish to consider. You have the right to appeal to any and every school for which you have been turned down although these figures suggest that appeal numbers will rise, whereas the number of successes will not. Grammar school appeals will rise sharply in numbers as the new Kent Test has produced outcomes with a much larger proportion of children appearing to have missed the pass mark narrowly, although there are unlikely to be more successes because of pressure on space. You also have the option of making a late application for a fresh school, called an In Year Application after April 24th. You can apply for as many schools as you wish through this process.  Every year we see a considerable ‘churning’ effect as children take up places off the waiting lists, as children win appeals at higher preferences, and some unhappy families remove themselves from the state system, so don't lose hope. 

 Kent Secondary School Allocations: March 2015
Kent pupils 2015 2014 2013 2012
No. of
 Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
No.of
Pupils
%
Offered a first preference 12,796  80.5% 13,092 83.6 12,754 84.2% 12,613 82.8%
Offered a second preference  1,612  10.1% 1,512 9.6% 1,456 9.6% 1,481 9.7%
Offered a third preference  478  3.1% 478 3.1% 448 3.0% 505 3.3%
Offered a fourth preference  181  1.1% 181 1.2% 129 0.9% 183 1.2%
Allocated by Local Authority  641  4.03% 404 2.6% 357 2.3% 443 2.9%
Total number of Kent pupils offered  15894 15,667 15144 15,225

 

Out of County Applicants to Kent Secondary Schools 2015
Year 2015 2014 2013 2012
Out of county applicants 2,299 1,991 1,760 1792
Offers to out of county pupils at Kent schools 757 602 589 560

   

Size of Kent Year 6 Cohort
Year 2015 2014 2013
Total number of pupils
in the cohort
18,193
17,658 16,904

 As can be seen from the above table, about 200 Kent children of the age group do not apply for state school places. 

Super Selective Scores

I now have the cut off scores in the Kent Test for Judd - 371, and Skinners - 364. Both are higher than I anticipated. As the Kent Test marks are more spread out than in previous years, I anticipate (!) that these bars will fall faster than in previous years, but remember for the last two years neither school has seen more than five successful appeals, so do not hold your breath! Tonbridge Grammar School adopts a split offer, with girls in the "inner" area of West Kent being required to gain 356 (80% of the total intake), anywhere else, 375 (to select the remaining 20% of girls). For Dartford Girls, the cut off for out of area girls was 370 and for Dartford Grammar it was 369. 

Rochester Grammar School has a cut off of 535 in the Medway Test (this uses a different scale of marking to Kent). Last year, it went right down to the pass mark, so there will be a number of disappointed girls; however, historically, this level falls quite sharply with some girls opting for private schools instead. For Rainham Mark Grammar the cut off is 530. Both of these schools have added an additional class of 30 children to their intake, so I suspect that once again, winning an appeal will be quite difficult, although it is certainly worth going on the waiting list if your child has passed the Medway Test. 

Medway Allocations

Medway’s position is tighter than Kent  with regard to empty spaces, with just 192 being vacant in spite of 100 additional spaces being added into schools. 

The increase of 111 in the number of Medway children offered places confirms the sharp decline in numbers to 2013 is well and truly over. 

However, the proportion of first preferences met continues its steady decline every year since 2012. Last year Brompton Academy was the most oversubscribed school in Kent and Medway, but this year it accounted for 159 of the 614 rejected first preferences, in spite of adding on an additional class of 30 children and it is apparent that the polarisation of choices, as described above, is playing a considerable role here, as families try and avoid the most unpopular schools, with only Bishop of Rochester having vacancies amongst the non-selective schools, four schools absorbing 164 of the 167 places allocated by Medway Council. 

Medway Secondary School Allocations March 2015
Medway Pupils
2015
2014
2013
2012
Number  % Number % Number % %
Offered a first preference 2499 80.7% 2423 81.2% 2425 86.0% 86.7%
Offered a place at one of their top
three choices
2813 94.3% 2678 95.0% 97.7%
Offered a place at one of their six choices 2940 95% 2865 96.0% 2730 96.8% 98.6%
Allocated a place by Medway Council 155 5.0% 120 4.0% 90 3.2% 1.4%
Total number of Medway
children offered places
3095
2984
2820
2949

 

Last modified on Monday, 24 October 2016 22:55

1 comment

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 03 March 2015 20:00 posted by Julia Simpson

    This year, the schools with the highest number of first choices, over and above the capacity of the school: are Dartford Grammar (179); St George's, Broadstairs (129); Valley Park, Maidstone (118); Dartford Girls (106); Skinners, Tunbridge Wells (100); Fulston Manor, Sittingbourne (95); and King Ethelbert, Birchington (80).
    Does this mean Judd has less than 12 first choices not fulfilled? Thanks.PETER: Not at all. I think you have put off by a typo I have now corrected. Judd has 67 grammar qualified first choices above its PAN, although not all will get in as some second preferences will have been offered places. Traditionally it has fewer applications than Skinners as it is perceived to be more difficult to get a place with the higher cut offs, and so some people are put off.

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