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Friday, 01 March 2019 06:05

Kent Secondary School Allocations for September 2019: Initial Information and Advice

You will find more detailed information on Kent grammar school allocation here, and for non-selective schools here
The initial data for applicants for Kent secondary schools shows that 79.1% of  those from Kent were  offered their first choice. This is the lowest percentage for at least nine years. 837 children been given none of their four choices, at 4.7% of the total, again the highest proportion for at least nine years, up on last year’s 765 and up by 75% over the 2016 proportion of 2.7%. The proportion of children being offered one of their top two preferences at 90.3% is down on 90.7% in 2018, and again lowest for nine years. 

17,959 Kent children applied for places in Kent secondary schools, 517 more than in 2018, with 79.1% of them being offered their first choice. This is the lowest percentage for at least nine years, a further 0.6% down on last year. 837 children been given none of their four choices, at 4.7% of the total, again the highest proportion for at least nine years, up on last year’s 765. I know that a number of additional school places have been created at pinch points across the county, but I anticipate hearing of some very difficult situations for some of the children with no school of their choice.

In spite of the inexorable increase in out of county applications to Kent schools, up 225 to 3,514, exactly the same number, 818, were offered places, as in 2018. As always this  will have been partially balanced by around 500 going to schools outside Kent.

You will find more information, including a look at some of the pressure points as they become apparent, below. These include North West Kent both selective and non-selective, and non-selective Swale, Thanet and Tunbridge Wells.  You will also find required scores for super-selective schools (all information on both situations welcomed) together with the tables of outcomes

There is initial advice at the foot of the article on what to do if you have not been offered the school of your choice. This begins as always with my Corporal Jones mantra, do NOTHING in panic! You may regret it. There is no quick fix. 

There is also a link to the limited telephone advisory service I now offer. 

This article was written for March 1st, National Secondary Allocation Day. I am updating it as I receive further information relating to individual schools. Please note I am very grateful for families who let me know what is happening at local schools. There is  also a parallel article for Medway  and another in about two weeks time when I am sent data released, providing full details of allocation, over subscription and vacancies for all Kent secondary schools, which also be posted on the Individual Schools Section. 

As always, when I get a school by school breakdown, I shall publish a fuller analysis later this month, the 2018 articles for Kent grammars being here, non-selectives here, for Medway grammars here, and Medway non-selectives here. You will find these give considerable guidance on what to expect this time round.  I already have the details of the number of first choices for each Kent secondary school, which you will find in my Individual School section here, together with the pattern for individual schools.  

 Kent Secondary School Allocations: March 2019
Kent pupils 2019 2018 2017 2016
No. of
No. of
No. of
No. of
Offered a first preference  14,201 79.1% 13,891 79.6% 13,418 80.4% 13,159 81.4%
Offered a second preference  2008  11.2% 1,937 11.1% 1,861 11.1% 1,840 11.4%
Offered a third preference  691  3.9% 641 3.7% 593 3.6% 549 3.4%
Offered a fourth preference  222  1.2% 208 1.2% 194 1.2% 196 1.2%
Allocated by Local Authority 837   4.7% 765 4.4% 633 3.8% 428 2.7%
Total number of Kent pupils offered  17,959   17,442   16,697   16,172  
You will find the KCC Press Release hereIn his weekly letter to Kent Education Professionals, Matt Dunkley CBE, Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education for KCC writes: 'I am delighted to report that more than 95% of children will receive an offer from one of their four preferences after more families than ever before applied for a Secondary school place in Kent. A total of 21,473 applications were received, up 3.58% on last year’s cohort, while the number of Kent applicants rose from 17,442 in 2018 to 17,959 this year, a 2.96% increase. Yet despite these increases, the number of pupils getting a place at one of their first preference schools continues to increase. Of the applicants, 17,959 were from pupils living within Kent and over 90% of these will get one of their top two preference schools'. His delight will come as a great disappointment to the many families who have lost out on places this year as recorded in this article.  At least he should be honest about the challenges many families face! Fortunately, this website contains the best data available for those professionals. 
Please note that although this data identifies 837 children allocated places by KCC as there were no spaces in any of the schools they applied to, 85% did not apply to four schools, as allowed by the process, so this figures is certainly inflated. For example, some will just be applying to grammar schools, with the intention of appealing or taking up places in private schools if unsuccessful. Others will quite simply not have found four choices to consider, especially in the rural areas. More still will have found some local schools unacceptable, and perhaps hope (falsely), that leaving blank spaces will increase their chances at a preferred school. In all cases, KCC is obliged to offer a school with vacancies and you will find considerable information on such non-selective schools for 2018, here, and grammar schools here, for contrary to popular media myth, there are always Kent grammars with vacancies on allocation in March, eight or a quarter of the total, in 2018. 
The proportion of successful first choices will always be heavily deflated compared to comprehensive areas, as many families whose child has not passed the Kent Test still put a grammar as first choice, with no chance of being offered a place. In total there was an astonishing 1001 children who went down this route, most from Kent and therefore a considerable proportion of the 3,758 Kent children who did not get their first place. A grammar will be however needed on the admission form somewhere if the family plan to appeal, although as I have advised elsewhere, its position is irrelevant. 
Local Pressures
 Non-selective places in Gravesham appear very tight with no vacancies in any of its six non-selective schools, children being allocated to Ebbsfleet Academy, including some from the far side of the town.  North West Kent is heavily oversubscribed for grammar schools with Swanscombe and Greenhithe children in particular difficulty,  again with children also being diverted to non-selective Ebbsfleet Academy, apparently the only school in the district with empty places. 
Elsewhere, problems are mainly in non selective schools. Tunbridge Wells is again a pressure area for non-selective places with children being placed in High Weald Academy, Cranbrook and Hayesbrook School Tonbridge. Sittingbourne has a considerable problem with non-selective places, with some children to the south of the three schools being offered Oasis Academy, Sheppey, the island to the north of town. There are major difficulties in Thanet with a large number of Local Authority Allocations to Hartsdown and Royal Harbour Academies as every other school is full.  

Meopham School in Gravesham is massively oversubscribed having had a large number of vacancies just four years ago.  . 


Super Selective Scores 
Dartford Grammar School up to 369 for local children (up sharply from 358 in 2018), outside area 391 (up from 384). Dartford Grammar Girls up to  359 for local girls (up sharply from 341); out of area 385 (as in 2018). Judd 376 Inner (up from 364); Outer 402 (up from 395); Skinners ( new scheme with priority to West Kent boys) -  all with scores of 360 or above -  140 places to those living locally up to 10.099 miles; 20 places in the Outer area living up to 8.694 miles. Tonbridge Grammar in area 371 but only up to 1.026 miles (up from 369 in 2018); Governor Places 393 with distance tie-breaker of 15.318 miles (down slightly from 394). Rochester Grammar appears to have risen sharply this year, up to 550 (520 in 2018) . This has been caused by a new priority for siblings and girls from linked primary schools who have passed whatever the score. 


The new Skinners scheme is causing considerable unhappiness to many families who have lost out this year. 

Out of County Applicants
The previously inexorable rise in out of county children being offered places in Kent schools appears to have halted at 818, exactly the same as for 2017 entry, but it needs to be borne in mind both that a considerable number of the 485 London children who were offered Kent places last year will have eventually settled for places nearer home, and also that 455 Kent children were offered places going the other way out, of county. The headlines inevitably focus on pressure on grammar schools, last year 465 ooc children being offered grammar school places, just over half the total but, for example, 104 of the 118 Medway children taking up places in Kent schools went to non-selective schools. In 2011, there were 255 ooc children taking up places in Kent grammar schools, but concerns were already being expressed over the pressure on NW Kent grammars. 
Out of County Applicants to Kent Secondary Schools 2019
Year 2019 2018 2017 2016
Out of county applicants 3514 3,289 2,744 2,624
Offers to out of county pupils
at Kent schools
818 818 810 803


What can you do if you don't have a school of your choice?

As noted above, don't panic. 

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 still wish to consider. You have the right to appeal to any and every school for which you have been turned down. My article on 2018 appeals should be taken as guidance only but again, you will find the appeal outcomes for each Kent school here.   You will also find plenty of free advice in the appeals sections of this website at: Kent Grammar AppealsMedway Grammar Appeals; and Oversubscription Appeals. There is also copious grammar school appeal advice on the 11 plus Exams website, although it is not necessarily Kent specific and in any case often written for out of county candidates who have different expectations and perceptions, so be careful. 

Obviously, you should talk to your primary school who should be able to offer advice and, if you are not sure of the school to which you have been allocated, ask for another visit, which is likely to be as an individual rather than with the crowd who were there on Open Day. 

 You also have the option of making a late application for a fresh school, called an In Year Application from 15th March in Kent, or go on any school’s waiting list after 24th April. Details here (page 18). 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!

I regret I have retired from my Personal Appeals Service, being the only Kent and Medway appeals specialist I am afraid. I still offer a Telephone Advisory Service which provides an initial hard-nosed information and advisory assessment. 


Last modified on Sunday, 01 March 2020 16:47


  • Comment Link Friday, 26 April 2019 18:37 posted by Carol

    So it seems that if places had not been offered outside the county there would have been enough places for our kent/gravesham children. At this time my grandson has not got a secondary school to go to in Sept as the one kcc allocated had an unsuitable and long journey (an hour by buses plus 15 min walk after) and so was declined for his own safety! Apparently all his local schools are full! PETER: Looks as if the unsuitable school is Ebbsfleet Academy, see my recent blog article. Sadly, too many others are in the same situation.

  • Comment Link Monday, 04 March 2019 13:33 posted by Meinir Hall

    Interesting regarding allocations, also Meopham School has been consulting on changing the admissions policy to reserve a number of places for Ofsted Rise school pupils from September 2020. PETER: As is their right and common, even if I think the practice is unfair for most families

  • Comment Link Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:55 posted by Vicky

    It appears that even if you scored full marks and put Skinners down as your first choice, if you lived in North Sevenoaks/Otford/Dunton Green/Kemsing, you stood no chance of getting in this year. PETER: Correct, as an update above confirms. Sorry.

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 March 2019 10:23 posted by LocalTWMum01

    It will certainly be interesting to see what impact the new Skinners' admissions criteria has in West Kent, specifically on Judd cut off score...PETER: Indeed, for reasons I don't yet understand it has shot up.

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