Supporting Families
  • banner11
  • banner10
  • banner3
  • banner2
  • banner13
  • banner6
  • banner9
  • banner7
  • banner4
  • banner8
Friday, 22 March 2019 06:09

Oversubscription & Vacancies Kent Non-Selective Secondary Schools 2019


Parallel article on Kent grammar schools now here
The main themes of 2019 allocations to non-selective secondary schools in Kent are the increased pressure on places following a 4.6% increase in numbers, and the increased polarisation of choices. KCC has worked hard with individual schools to provide additional places in some areas, with 497 extra places being provided in the non-selective sector, although 113 were removed from schools since 2018 allocations, for different reasons. After allocation there were just 434 vacancies out of the 13,708 available, a total of 3.2%, down from 3.9% in 2018.
St Georges Foundation        King Ethelbert 2
Six Districts were left with no non-selective vacancies at all, in spite of the extra places added in: Ashford; Canterbury; Dartford; Gravesham Maidstone; Sevenoaks. However, there will be considerable churning in the next few months, following successful grammar school appeals, appeals in the more popular schools and waiting list promotion in some of these areas.
You will find a list of the most oversubscribed schools below, led by St George’s CofE Foundation School in Broadstairs as in 2018, this year followed by King Ethelbert School also in Thanet.
Just 12 of the 68 schools have vacancies at this time. Nine schools each have over 40 Local Authority Allocations (LAAs). Each of these, identified below, has been the subject of concern expressed in previous articles on this site. One school, Holmesdale which had 41% vacancies in 2018 before Local Authority Allocations, has seen this soar to 60% for 2019 with several other schools seeing a rise of over 10% in their vacancy rate. 
I look more closely below at the most oversubscribed schools and those with most vacancies, together with the situation in each District, along with the impact of out of county applications.
This annual survey of Kent non-selective places is the second largest article I produce
each year (the largest is the parallel survey of primary school allocations).
I am happy to accept there may be corrections or expansions needed,
together with helpful comments, which I will incorporate if these are pointed out. 

One problem I have is that KCC has introduced a new set of rules in data publication that redacts information relating to small numbers, although I consider there is no danger that individuals can be identified. As a result, I am delaying the updating of Individual School Information until I can obtain this information, although there is still much reported on each school, including the number of first choices for each school. Some pages also need updating on other data. Please let me know of any you wish to be brought up to date. 

You will find my initial and more general thoughts here, with the parallel article on grammar schools here and Medway schools to come. I look at individual Districts further down the article, with direct links at: 

I am using a different measure to my usual one at this time, because of the KCC redaction. This simply compares the number of first choices to the number of places available, producing the same first four schools as in 2018. The next four were also the same as in 2018, The rise and rise of Meopham is especially of note, with the school expanding by 30 places this year, partially to meet demand across Gravesham with other pupils across the Borough being sent out to Ebbsfleet (see below).  Just two new arrivals in the list, the small Hadlow Rural Community School together with St Gregory's Catholic Comprehensive, in Tunbridge Wells. The pressure in Tunbridge Wells  (see below) has been eased a little by the addition of 180 new places across the three town non-selective schools but there are still major problems now and in the future. 
In one sense this is a slightly misleading picture as, for some of these schools, their popularity is increased by a desire to avoid a school with perceived difficulties.  Some commentators seek to criticise such parents for chasing popular schools, but the reality is often very different.  
Most Oversubscribed Kent Non Selective Schools  2019





1st Choices

per place




St George's CofE
217* 390 1.80  50  4
King Ethelbert 150 266 1.77  29 11 
Fulston Manor 210  341 1.62  42   5
Valley Park 270  431  1.60   67  6
Trinity Free 180  257  1.43   27  7
Hadlow Rural  75  104  1.39  19  5
St George's CofE
 180**  248  1.38  13  3
Meopham  170*  226  1.36  0  0
St John's Catholic 196  244   1.24  12  4
St Anselm's Cath  190  223  1.17 28   10
Bennett Memorial  300* 349   1.16  24  1
Herne Bay  265  305 1.15   0  0
Wrotham  165*  186  1.13  0  0
Dartford Sci & Tech  150  169  1.13  1  1
Wye Free  128*  143  1.12  18  2
Together with another six schools with more first choices than places available
Notes: *  School with Increase in Places 2018 - 2019
          **   School with decrease in places 2018-2019
i have included the appeal data, which you will find for all Kent schools in the Individual Schools section, with an overview here, as a guide to the potential challenge facing parents who wish to appeal. However, you will see from the Individual School data that whilst the pattern of outcomes for some schools is fairly constant, others can change sharply, often as a result of some change in the school circumstances. 
The table includes all schools that have more than a third of their places empty upon secondary allocation, before KCC placed Local Authority Allocated Children (LAAs), who are children with no school of their choice, in them. Apart from New Line Learning (NLL) and Astor College, each one has featured in a recent article of concern, signposted in the District analysis below. 
Most remarkable is the polarisation referred to above, which can be seen by comparison of the table below with the equivalent 2018 article. This exposes starkly the sharp decline in applications to nearly all the schools in both lists, apart from High Weald which heads both tables. These range from Oasis Sheppey the same in both tables with 43% to, unsurprisingly, Holmesdale which has leapt from 41% to 60% vacancies before Local Authority Allocations are taken into consideration.  
I have this year included an additional column, '% Loss 2018'  which looks back to 2018 data. I have compared the March allocation figure with the number of Year 7 children who actually turned up, according to the October school census. The two tables contain almost all the same schools heading them up. The losses will have come from children taking up places at alternative schools where vacancies have developed (or in some cases private schools), together with an indeterminate number leaving for Home Education, rather than send their children to these schools. 
These include Ebbsfleet Academy, which has offered to children in Shorne, on the Medway border and grammar qualified boys unable to access local selective schools because of the high number of London children given places in the two Dartford grammars. Along with High Weald and Hayesbrook, the other two schools in the Brook Learning Trust, the three present a frightening picture of lack of confidence in their offering, taking up three of the five highest percentage vacancies before LAAs. High Weald and Ebbsfleet  are both in the top four schools to lose children to Elective Home Education or simply vanishing from the scene during 2017-18.  The Brook Trust also provided the school support for Holmesdale School on its downward spiral last year.  
 High Weald 150 101 51 61% 42 53%
 Holmesdale 180 128 61 60% 56 15%
 Hartsdown 180 175 46 59% 101 38%
Ebbsfleet** 150 197 91 58% 83 31%
 Hayesbrook 151 130  46 50% 55 49%
 NLL 180 180  87 44% 79 31%
 Oasis Sheppey 390 302 175 43% 79 13%
 Astor 210 122 107 42% 


 Royal Harbour 200  241 92 39% 88  13%
 Folkestone 270 186 155 34%  27%
 Notes:* This is the percentage loss between allocation in March 2018 and take up in October 2018 according to the Kent census. 
           **The Ebbsfleet Academy intake was increased by 47 places to absorb all the Dartford LAAs. 
There are many connections between schools in these two tables, as families seek to avoid some of those in the table above, to chase places elsewhere making them even more popular. 
District Survey
1298 0 0 19
Canterbury 1165 0 0 64
Dartford 1120 0 0 83
Dover  915 3 106 6
Folkestone & Hythe 886 2 87 18
Gravesham 1100 0 0 26
Maidstone 1405 0 0 129
Sevenoaks 585 0 0 15
Swale 1365 1 88 79
Thanet 1158 2 14 189
Tunbridge & Malling 1136 2 73 136
Tunbridge Wells 1170 1 49 42

 Note: KCC is not currently releasing data for individual schools where numbers are less than 5. This is only relevant in this table to the number of LAAs, which are likely to be greater than the figure quoted for each District.

Out of County
Because of KCC's invalid restriction on numbers less than five (invalid because individuals cannot be identified from a Local Authority) I am unable to complete this section at present, but will do as soon as I have the information. 
However, I do know the largest numbers: Knole Academy 64 (62 from Bromley); Homewood 55 (all from East Sussex); Bennett Memorial 40 (38 from East Sussex); Wilmington Academy 37 (all from Bexley); Holmesdale 23 (all from Medway); Aylesford 22 (all from Medway); St Simon Stock 16 (all from Medway); Leigh Academy 15 (11 from Bexley); Dartford Sci &Tech 13 (all from Bexley); St John's Catholic 12 (11 from Medway); and Trinity School 11 (all from Bromley).
259 Kent children have been offered Out of County Non-Selective Places: Bexley 53 (St Catherine's Catholic 19, Haberdasher's Aske's Crayford Academy 12, St Columba's Catholic Boys' 11);  Bromley 21; East Sussex 68 (Uplands 51); Medway 41 (Greenacre  12, Walderslade Girls 11); Surrey 62 (Oxted 59).
For 2018: 366 out of county children were offered places in Kent non-selective schools, with 291 going the other way.
The main traffic was between: Medway (104 in, 22 out); Bromley (89 in, 15 out); East Sussex (81 in, 129 out); Bexley (66 in, 63 out); and Surrey (1 in, 68 out).

Prev Next »

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 June 2019 17:21

1 comment

  • Comment Link Thursday, 18 April 2019 18:42 posted by Edenbridge Mum

    Kent needs to look at some of the poor girls in Edenbridge. Edenbridge
    seems to be a forgotten corner of Kent. In past years children have been offered places at Sevenoaks schools and Hugh Christie but with the constant squeeze on places this year girls have been allocated High Weald which is an impossible 2 hour plus journey by public transport. Boys fair slightly better being allocated Hayesbrook. PETER: I didn't know of this one. I am shocked, although fairly confident you will get in at Knole eventually it you have applied, either through waiting list or appeal.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.