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Wednesday, 15 April 2015 21:38

Kent & Medway Primary School Allocations April 2015

 Good news for most Kent and Medway parents as the proportion of children in both Authorities to be offered places later today in a Reception class at a school of their choice, and also in their first choice school, has risen compared with 2014 figures and the against the national trend.

The headline figures are that: 

  1. All overall statistics for Kent and Medway are  an improvement on 2014 figures.
  2. Kent has 85.81% of children awarded their first choice school, up nearly 1% on 2014, Medway 87.08% over 1% higher than 2014.
  3. Number of children placed in Kent is 17,415, up by 318 on 2014, in Medway by 200.
  4. Seven new primary academies are opening in Kent in September, creating 240 additional places.
  5. Sadly, 724 Kent and 126 Medway children have not been offered any school of their choice.

Decisions will be sent out by email after 4 p.m. this afternoon to those families who registered online, with paper decisions expected to arrive for all applicants by post tomorrow.

I will be publishing a more detailed analysis of the situations for both Authorities, when I receive individual school data in the next fortnight. Biggest pressure points last year were Dartford, Gravesham, and Sevenoaks, and from enquiries this year, it looks very similar. You will find a  breakdown by district for 2014 here.  You will find general advice on primary school appeals here, and statistics here, but I am afraid neither is of great comfort.

I would encourage parents to apply to go on the waiting list for any of their preferences that have not been offered, as there will be movement over the next four months. This is your best chance of getting a school of your choice, as chances at appeal are generally very low because of Infant Class Legislation. For 2014 entry, of 537 primary appeals registered where Infant Class Legislation applied (the overwhelming majority), just 5 were upheld.

Kent

Although numbers are steadily rising in Kent, it is excellent news for most parents that the proportion of children offered their first choice school at 85.81% and the proportion offered any of their three choices is also up at 95.84%, but no comfort to the 724 offered none of their choices. You will find the 2014 Report here.

Kent Primary Schools: allocation to Reception classes April 2015
Offers to Kent Pupils 2015 2014 2013 2012 
No of pupils % No of pupils % No of pupils % No of pupils %

 Offered a school on the application form

16691

95.84%

16301

95.34%

15,838 95.99% 15,476 94.98%

Offered a first preference

14943

85.81%

14516

84.90%

14,264 86.45% 13,879 85.18%
Offered a second preference 1272 7.30% 1239 7.25% 1,127 6.83% 1,145 7.03%
Offered a third preference 476 2.73% 546 3.19% 447 2.71% 452 2.77%
Allocated by local authority 724 4.16% 796 4.65% 661 4.01% 818 5.02%
Total number of offers 17415 17097 16,499 16,249 

As usual, KCC has sent out a full Press Release, which has informed the following data.

I believe there are a number of reasons for the improvement, as follows:

  1. There are seven new primary academies due to open in September, providing another 2400 Reception places for September. These are, together with their sponsoring academy trust: Holborough Lakes, Snodland (Valley Invicta); Kings Hill (Valley Invicta); London Road Primary, Leybourne (Valley Invicta); Martello Grove Primary, Folkestone (Lilac Sky); and Thistle Hill Primary, Sheppey (Lilac Sky); Finberry Primary, Ashford (Stour Academy); Skinners' Kent Primary, Knights Wood, Tunbridge Wells (Skinners’s Company);
  2. The first six of these will also have SEN Units attached. Finberry Primary has only just been approved, and so applicants are now being encouraged to apply directly, outside the KCC scheme, which will no doubt add another 30 to the number of satisfied parents.
  3. I don’t yet know the details, but I am aware that KCC has been pro-active in encouraging popular schools to expand where possible, so there are a number of additional classes being created in areas of pressure. Unfortunately, this cannot be continued indefinitely, so the only long term solution to rising rolls is to create more new schools.
  4. I have long argued that polarisation of choice is increasing as parents head for Good or Outstanding schools and try and avoid those that are failing. The good news in Kent is that the proportion of Good schools is increasing rapidly, so parents are no longer as fearful of being allocated poor schools and are willing to accept a wider range of alternatives.
  5. The quality of information provided to parents is improving. So, for example, the Kent Primary School Admission Information Booklet now provides information about pupils offered alces in 2014, including for example, the number of siblings awarded places, which can swing wildly year on year, and the distance of the further child offered a place, where appropriate.

Kent County Council has recently been awarded £41 Million for school Basic Need Funding for 2017/18, on top of the £51 million over the next two years. This represents approximately 3% of the national allocation for the year, way above the proportional figure per head of population, promising well for future school place provision, both primary and secondary.

The primary appeal statistics for schools that used the Kent Appeals Service (the overwhelming majority) in 2014 are as follows.

       Kent Primary School Appeal Outcomes 2014
 
Appeals
Registered
Upheld Turned down
%
upheld
place offered
before appeal
withdrawn
Primary Schools:
Infant Class Legislation
537 5 355 1.4% 30 147
Other Primary schools  43  19  11  63%  8  5
Primary Total 580 24 366  6% 38 152

This table is for appeal Panels organised by KCC. A small number of primary appeals are managed by other organisations. Commentary here. You will find further information here.

 

Medway

As with Kent, Reception numbers are steadily rising, with another 200 children coming through this year. I am not aware of how or whether Medway has made additional places available but the proportion of children offered their first choice school has risen to 87.08%, halting the annual decline of recent years. The proportion of children offered one of their four choices has also risen, to 96.43%, the best for three years. This still leaves 126 children with none of their four choices.

You will find my 2014 Report here.

Medway Primary Schools: allocation to Reception classes April 2015
Offers made by Medway Primary schools 2015 2014 2013 2012 
  No of pupils %   No of pupils %        No of pupils % No of pupils %

 Offered a school named on the application form

3396

96.43%

 3171 95.45% 3058 95.95% 2949 97.00%

Offered a first preference

3067

87.08%

 2847 85.7% 2803 88.00% 2707 89.05%
Offered a second preference 256 7.27% 231 6.95% 189 5.93% 176 5.79%
Offered a third preference 55 1.5%  78 2.35% 48 1.51% 55 1.81%
Offered a fourth preference* 20 0.58%  15  0.45% 18 0.56% 11 0.36%
Allocated by local authority 126  151 4.55% 129 4.05% 91 2.99%
Total number of offers 3522 3322 3187 3040

 

*Note: this entry is given as third preference on the Medway statement, with no fourth preference provided, but given the size of the figures, I suspect my interpretation is correct.

It is difficult to know what to say about these figures until I get the full breakdown, as Medway appears not to have issued a press release, a change from the policy of previous years, when the Authority has had to work hard in an attempt to cover up bad news. This year, when there is good news about, all I have seen is a very brief five line summary of the data! Perhaps a fuller statement will be forthcoming on Thursday.

What is clear is that none of the first three factors I have identified for improvement in Kent apply in Medway, with OFSTED and KS2 results the worst in the country. An enigma! I understand this will be underscored by the disappointing outcomes of yet another focused inspection of Medway primary schools just before Easter.

You will find a full breakdown of the 2014 Medway District allocation picture here.

Medway Council has been awarded over £9 million for additional school places for 2017/18, way up on the £2 million awarded in the next two years, so it may well be that the upward trend gets even better in the next few years. However this is just one eighth of the KCC allocation over the next three years, although Medway is one sixth of the size of KCC.

I did not collect the 2014 figures for Medway Appeals, but you will find the 2013 data here.

 

Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2016 23:30

3 comments

  • Comment Link Saturday, 25 April 2015 15:17 posted by Carys

    Thanks for this. Our child did not get any of her three choices despite submitting medical grounds for applying to two of the primary schools on the list. We were concerned with the fact that only two schools we had visited would provide for our child's severe condition. We are told this was not taken into account because other schools could cater for her needs, which is a matter of semantics....could does not equate to would and certainly was not demonstrated by current working practices we saw in place. Needless to say we are considering Appealing, but with little chance of success I wonder whether it is worth the anxiety? PETER: Health, Social and Special Access reasons do need to be specific about a particular school, backed up by medical evidence as to why that school uniquely can cater for the child's needs. The fact that the Kent Primary School Prospectus does not even bother to list this section in its allocation of places lists, is an indication of the very low number of children for whom it applies. The few cases I am aware of are where schools are specifically planned to deal with physical disability. A classic example is Bishops Down School in Tunbridge Wells whose 2012 OFSTED Report states " The school has specially resourced provision pupils with physical disabilities
    and complex medical needs which provides specialist support for up to ten pupils,
    who are fully integrated into mainstream classes". However, I can no longer find any reference to this on the school website! Unless you can demonstrate "uniquely" with medical evidence to back up and can also show that the school or Local Authority failed to consider this when allocating places you have little chance of succeeding at appeal. Sorry.

  • Comment Link Monday, 20 April 2015 11:02 posted by Skh

    How can we check that the criteria were applied correctly at the schools that did not make us an offer? Last year Lady Boswell in Sevenoaks admitted students on criteria 10. We applied on criteria 8 but were not offered a place. Can we check this is correct? PETER: If you state you need the information in preparation for an appeal, you are entitled to know the category of the final place awarded, and the cut off distance within that category. From the number of enquiries I have had in the Sevenoaks area, it looks as if it is another bad year. Sadly, unless parents have something special to offer as a case that will trump Infant Class Legislation - very rare, I am unable to offer my services as I wouldn't know how to make a difference. .

  • Comment Link Thursday, 16 April 2015 22:52 posted by LK

    Thank you for sharing this information. We are one of those 724 families that have not been offered any of their preferences and needless to say we are devastated. I have submitted the waiting list form to KCC this evening and now have the long wait for what will hopefully be a successful outcome. PETER: Sorry to hear this, My very best wishes. Don't have data for how many do succeed, but anecdotally it is quite a few.

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