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Sunday, 13 May 2018 19:06

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Kent Primary Schools, 2018

Index

 
Thanet
There are 16% vacancies across Thanet, so few pressure points and just 25 LAAs for over 1500 pupils. Just five of the 27 schools have more than ten first choices oversubscribed headed by Newington Community (‘Outstanding’ Ofsted) with 35 disappointed. This is followed by: Holy Trinity and St John’s CofE with 21; Cliftonville & Palm Bay 19; and St Crispin’s Infants 12.

17 schools have vacancies. After Ellington Infants with 63% of its 90 places empty, the four TKAT Academy Trust schools follow, with Drapers Mills Primary Academy 53%; Dame Janet Primary Academy 49%; Salmestone 35%; and Northdown 32%. As I wrote at this time last year: ‘The big story in Thanet is not of individual schools but of the sheer unpopularity of the schools run by the Kemnal Academy Trust (TKAT) as described below. What are they doing?’ All four schools were ‘Requires Improvement’ according to my records when I originally wrote this article (but updating Ofsted outcomes recently I can now see Drapers Mills was upgraded to Good in March, a massive improvement since Special Measures in 2014). These were the only schools in Thanet less than Ofsted ‘Good’, apart from St Gregory’s Catholic which separates them, with 40% vacancies, also ‘Requires Improvement’. Northdown fell from ‘Good’ earlier this year.

The new provision at St George's Foundation School in Broadstairs had just two vacancies for its 60 places. The school is now the third all through 4-18 school in the county, and offers priority for places at the senior section which is the most oversubscribed non-selective school in Kent, as a powerful bonus. The Ramsgate Arts Free School, now in its third year has also nearly filled after two difficult previous years in shared premises. 

Tonbridge
The opening of the new Bishop Chavasse Free school with its 60 places, delayed until 2018 and sponsored by the Academy Trust which runs Bennett Memorial in Tunbridge Wells, together with falling rolls, has changed the Tonbridge situation dramatically fromm 2017, when there were no vacant places in town on allocation in March. There are now 15%.

One consequence of this is that Slade Primary has lost its 2017 position as most oversubscribed school in Kent, although it still turned away 25 first choices. It was followed by Stocks Green in Hildenborough with 10.

Over half the 15 schools have vacancies, most at 57%, at Royal Rise Primary. This became an academy last year sponsored by Cygnus Academy Trust which also runs two primary schools in Dartford. Under its previous name of St Stephen’s, the school was placed in Special Measures. Cage Green Primary, which is Ofsted ‘Requires Improvement’, had 40% empty spaces.

Tunbridge Wells
Just one school with vacancies in 2017, expanding to six in 2018. Most oversubscribed school is St James CofE VA Infants, turning away 32 first choices. Second is Langton Green with 24. Third is Claremont, the most high profile school in the district, which suffers from potential families trying fraudulent methods to gain admission but which appears to have lost some of its shine. 17 first choices oversubscribed, followed by Wells Free School with 15, Speldhurst CofE 13, and St John's CofE with 12.  

Least popular school is regularly Temple Grove, a sponsored Academy with a previous high profile Chairman of Governors who failed to make an impact, this year with 45% vacancies. A third of the 33 places offered were LAAs. Next comes St Matthews High Brooms CofE VC with 30%. 

Junior Schools
There are 27 Junior schools, most linked with Infant schools offering a straightforward follow on system, the infants having priority for admission.

The only school seriously oversubscribed is Whitstable and Seasalter Endowed CofE Juniors, turning away 26 first choices, nearly all being placed in Whitstable Junior School. The main attractions of the Endowed school include an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted, above average Key Stage Two performance and the third highest Level Five KS2 performance in Kent at English and Maths. Highest proportion of vacancies is at Herne Bay Junior with 14%, suggesting a good fit of Infant/Junior in general. 


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Last modified on Sunday, 09 September 2018 07:10

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