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Friday, 13 April 2018 15:14

Kent and Medway Primary School Allocations for September 2018

Update, 26th April: KCC's Corporate Director, Children, Young People and Education has published an article on Primary Admissions on the KELSI website for education professionals as his weekly update. Unfortunately, it neither tells the truth about the main reason for the rise in proportions of Kent pupils offered their choice of schools, nor does it cover the level of detail you will find below. See comments at foot of page. 

I have now published District by District data, including oversubscription and vacancy levels, which provide further important detail. 

Update 5 June: I have now received fuller details from Medway Council via FOI and have incorporated it below, replacing the extremely sketchy Medway press release. 

Excellent news for most Kent and Medway families applying for primary school places.

A record proportion of Kent pupils who applied for Reception places at primary schools will be offered their first choice school today, at 89.5%Just 390 children have no school of their choice, a record low contrasting for example with 724 disappointed families in 2015. Unfortunately, the one page Medway Press Release is as usual almost content free, but I now know that 97.6% of the 3246 Medway pupils who were offered a place at a Medway school were offered a place at a  school on their  application form, slightly up on last year's 97.4%.

The promising Kent figures have been achieved because of a fall in numbers of children looking for places for the second successive year, 94 fewer than in 2017, and 773 fewer than in 2016. All 2018 data is from the KCC press release. In Medway there has been a further fall of 86 local children offered places in local primary schools.

I am waiting for detailed oversubscription and vacancy figures at both Reception and Junior School level to be sent, both for Kent and Medway and will publish these as soon as possible. You may find the equivalent picture for 2017 allocations helpful.

You will find advice below on what to do if you have not received a school of your choice, together with a breakdown of offers for both Kent and Medway over the past four years. 

You will also find information and advice on appeals below and  here. In summary, if your school is one of the overwhelming majority where Infant Class Legislation applies, chances are negligible. 

'There are still local pressures focused on several towns including: Tonbridge with just one vacancy in one school; Ashford, two vacancies, apart from 14 in a school on the outskirts; Sevenoaks,  full apart from 18 places in one school on the outskirts of town; and Tunbridge Wells just one school with 24 vacancies'. Most popular schools: Slade Primary (Tonbridge, 43 first choices turned away); Great Chart Primary (Ashford, 41); Cobham (Gravesham, 35); Cecil Road (Gravesham), East Borough (Maidstone), St Mildred's Infant (Thanet), all 34 first choices turned away.
Please note that the 2018 Kent figure of 390 children without places is itself inflated. Some families, as happens year on year, only apply for one popular school in the mistaken belief this will improve their chances. They will now need to make late applications to schools with vacancies. Other families especially in West Kent will have made alternative arrangements if they do not get the school of their choice, for example at private schools, and so not be looking for a place.    
'The proportion of children offered one of their choices in a Medway primary school has risen to 97.4%, the highest proportion for at least five years. This is a result of a reduction of 160 in the number of Medway school places taken up by children from the Authority and outside. As a result, there are 432 vacancies across the 67 schools, which is 12% of the total available, up from 7% in 2016. Most difficult area as usual is Rainham, with just 8 vacancies in two of its schools, a total of 2%. of the total number of places. At the other end is Rochester with 17% of all places left empty in five schools. Most popular school is Barnsole Primary which turned away 52 first choices, followed by Walderslade and Pilgrim primaries each with 29 disappointed first choices for their 30 places'.
127 Medway places have been offered to children from outside the Authority. Almost all will have come from the Walderslade/Bluebell Hill area where there is cross county movement. 102 Medway children were offered places outside Medway.
Kent Primary Schools: allocation of Kent children to Reception Classes April 2018
Offers to Kent Pupils 2018 2017 2016 2015
No of
No of
No of
No of

 Offered a school on the application form

 16843 97.7% 16855 97.4%





Offered a first preference

15426 89.5%  15429 89.0%


87.2% 14943


Offered a second preference 1093 6.3% 1077 6.2% 1229 6.8% 1272 7.3%
Offered a third preference 324  1.9%  379 2.2% 466 2.58% 476 2.7%
Allocated by local authority 390  2.3%  444 2.6% 606 3.4% 724 4.2%
Total number of offers 17233 17329   18006

The numbers in the table below are not always consistent as data provided by Medway Council is not always easy to understand. Quoted percentages are not always accurate - with 'just under's/overs" often proving misleading.

Medway Primary Schools: allocation of Medway children to Reception Classes April 2018
Offers to Medway Pupils  2018 2017 2016 2015
2018 figures to follow.   No of
No of
No of
No of

 Offered a school on the appln form

 3167  97.6%  3245 97.4% 3360 96.2%



Offered a first preference

2888 89.1%  2978 89.4% 3039 87.1%



Offered a second preference 220 6.7%   209 6.3% 220 6.3% 256 7.3%
Offered a third preference 48  1.4%   49 1.5% 61 1.8% 55 1.5%
Offered a fourth preference 10  0.3%   7  0.1% 27 0.8% 20 0.6%
Allocated by Council 79 2.4%  85 2.6% 134 4.0% 126 3.6%
Total number of offers   3246*  3330 3490 3522

*In addition 102 Medway children were offered places at non-Medway schools 

Not offered the school of your choice?

My normal initial advice still applies. Do not panic and take possibly rash decisions. There is nothing you can do for the good immediately, as you have to work through the laid down processes, and you can undermine your prospects by taking a wrong action.
You have the right to go on the waiting list for, and appeal for any school on your application form, where you have not been offered a place. You also have the right to make a late application in Kent to any school that was not on your original list, on or after 15th June, when the first reallocation of vacant places takes place to children already on the waiting list. You should use the KCC In Year Application Form and send it directly to all schools you are interested in as you choose, that were not on your application list. You are not restricted to just one school at a time. KCC will tell you which local schools still have vacancies on the day you enquire. This will not damage your chances at any school for which you are on the waiting list. If you are appealing and are offered a place at one of these schools in advance it may be taken into account. However, with the very low chances of success at appeal (see below), this is a risk worth taking.  

A large  number of children are offered places off waiting lists, most setting off a ‘churning process’ freeing up other places. You have nothing to lose from going on the waiting list for as many schools as you  wish. Sadly, chances of success at appeal are negligible in nearly all cases, as explained below. 

Primary School Appeals
Most Reception Class Appeals are governed by what is called Infant Class Legislation. Quite simply, you will not win an Infant Class Appeal if there are classes of 30 children in the Infant section, unless you have one of a few rare exceptional circumstances. Schools with intakes of, for example, 15, 20 or 45 children will run mixed age classes of 30, so fit the legislation. A few schools have an intake with a different number, especially some small rural schools in East Kent where this does not apply.  With Infant Class Legislation in place, there was just  one successful Reception Appeals in Kent out of 272 submitted, in Medway one out of 60. I also include columns recording places offered off waiting lists before appeals are heard, and the number of appeals withdrawn before the appeal was heard for other reasons.This table is for appeal Panels organised by KCC and Medway Council. A small number of primary appeals are managed by other organisations. Commentary here. You will find further information here.
Kent and Medway Primary School Appeals 2017
Kent Reception
Infant Legislation
272 196 1 195 23 53
Kent Reception
38 36 14 22 0 2
Kent Junior 8 8 5 3 0 0
Medway Reception 60 31 1 30 8 21
Medway Junior 106


0 1 1 4

You will find two personal commentaries on Medway appeals here and here.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 April 2020 13:23


  • Comment Link Thursday, 26 April 2018 19:13 posted by Kent Primary Headteacher, Dartford

    What a disgrace. Cannot Mr Dunkley, C.B.E. see that not telling the truth about this improved situation loses him the confidence and respect of headteachers. I, like others I know, understand why numbers have fallen only because of kentadvice and not our so called leaders. I showed your article to my Governors who now understand the situation. One, who has seen the KELSI article is very angry he has been told lies by KCC

  • Comment Link Thursday, 26 April 2018 19:02 posted by Kent Primary Headteacher, Canterbury

    Hear, hear, hear.
    What a brilliant article, exposing Kent's inability to tell the truth even before the lie is published! I was worried about our numbers and had to check with colleagues until I saw your article. Nothing from KCC of course.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:33 posted by Kent Primary Head, Maidstone

    How do you do it?! As a Kent headteacher, I have just received the weekly newsletter of Matt Dunckley, Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education for KCC, on Primary School Admissions, only two weeks after your article setting out the full picture. Apparently, the wonderful admissions data are down to two reasons: the rise in proportion of Good or Outstanding schools, somehow meaning that more parental wishes can be met, and also careful planning by KCC . No mention whatever of the true central reason you have identified; the fall in number of children looking for places which presumably does not fit the narrative. The article, published at is in a publication for Education Professionals in Kent. Why then does Mr Dunkley, CBE, try and paint a false picture. No wonder so many of us subscribe to kentadvice to discover the truth about what is going on in our county!

  • Comment Link Monday, 16 April 2018 08:00 posted by James Walker

    Peter, Do you have the figures for Medway?. PETER: Unfortunately, not as yet. Whilst I depend on the KCC for its Press Release of the above data, for some reason Medway doesn't like me and has decided I am not a member of the media. This is although I publish much more on Medway education than any other media outlet.

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