|Offers to Kent Pupils||2013||2012||2011|
|No of pupils||%||No of pupils||%||No of pupils||%|
Offered a school named on the application form
Offered a first preference
|Offered a second preference||1,127||6.83%||1,145||7.03%||1,062||6.67%|
|Offered a third preference||447||2.71%||452||2.77%||407||2.56%|
|Allocated by local authority||661||4.01%||818||5.02%||768||4.82%|
|Total number of offers||16,499||16,249||15919|
I shall have Medway information in a few days, along with a much more detailed breakdown of the Kent outcomes.
KCC has expanded some 15 primary schools permanently, and others on a temporary basis. I will have further infroamtion on this shortly. This would take many up to an intake of 90, in spite of a KCC policy not to allow schools already at an intake of 60 to enlarge, unless in exceptional circumstances. Clearly what happened last year was exceptional and the Authority has acted appropriately, in an attempt to rectify previous failures of planning as it is no longer allowed to open new schools. This follows a government restriction that only allows new schools to be built if they are Academies Free Schools or Voluntary Aided Schools sponsored by other groups. The new Wells Free School in Tunbridge Wells falls into this category although it is designed as a small school making little impact, and is not featured in the above figures as for its first year. This is because, like other Free Schools, applications are outside the Kent Admissions procedure in their first year of operation only.
Bishops Down Primary School
One controversy is likely to once again revolve around Bishops Down Primary School in Tunbridge Wells. You will find the background here, but in brief a decision by the Independent Schools Adjudicator last year instructed KCC to keep the school's intake at 60 children. KCC claimed they could not comply as there are planning issues with the site and they wished to revert to an intake of 30. KCC considered taking out a High Court Injunction to challenge the decision but, although confident they would win, did not follow this through. The reason given was that they would apply for the required planning permission and if it were turned down this would be a much quicker decision enabling parents applying for primary school places to take this into account. Sadly not only did the planning permission not be considered by the closing date for applications, it has still not been reached today, eight months later and the day when school offers are made. As a result just 30 children will be offered places. Another 30 will receive letters offering them provisional places if the planning permission is forthcoming, but actually formally offering them places in other schools. The letter is very positive about the likelihood of places being offered, a complete reversal of KCC's opinion back last August. The letter also states that a decision on planning permission will not be reached until a Committee Meeting in June. I have seen correspondence which suggests the delays in processing this were avoidable.
Sadly these delays have causes yet more uncertainty in primary school placements in Tunbridge Wells, but although on a smaller scale to last year's problems the unnecessary delays have made this one particularly unfortunate.