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Monday, 10 June 2019 19:09

Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Primary Schools: 2019


The proportion of Medway children offered one of their choices in a Medway primary school has risen slightly to 97.8%, the highest proportion for at least six years. There is just one minor reduction in one school's Planned Admission number with a total of 3955 places available. As a result, there are 535 vacancies across the 67 schools, which is 13% of the total available.

Fewest vacancies are on the Hoo Peninsula at 8% total, down from 11% in 2018. Just three of the nine schools have vacancies. Most vacancies are in Rochester with just one school, The Pilgrim School, significantly oversubscribed. 

Most popular school is once again Barnsole Primary which turned away 63 first choices, followed by Horsted Infants with 39 and Swingate 35. Barnsole and Swingate are the only two of the ten most oversubscribed schools to feature in both years. There are ten schools with 15 or more first choices turned down, spread across the Authority, and listed in the table below. 

Barnsole     Horsted School   Swingate

Eight schools have over a third of their places empty, down from 12 in 2017, headed this year by Elaine Primary with 70% of its places unfilled, brought down under the Williamson Trust, not exactly faring much better under its new sponsors The Inspire Partnership who have delivered at 35%, the lowest proportion of pupils reaching the Expected Standard and the second lowest Writing Progress score in Medway at KS2. Next comes Delce Academy with 67% empty places (featured in detail below) and then  third year running by Allhallows Primary Academy 53% ( but improving on all measures). See below for more details on both these last two schools.  Altogether 37 schools, over half of the total of 67 primary schools have vacancies in their Reception classes. 75 Medway children  were offered none of their choices and have been allocated to other schools with vacancies by Medway Council,  spread out across 22 schools, with 41 in Chatham and Gillingham schools.  

I look more closely at each Medway area separately,below, links as follows: Chatham; Gillingham; Hoo Peninsula; Rainham; Rochester; Strood, together with the situation for Junior Schools, here

If there are sections that need amplification, please let me know…….

 You will find the equivalent article and data for 2018 here; a preliminary article here; and the parallel Kent article here.

I would encourage parents to apply to go on the waiting list for any of their preferences that have not been offered, as there will be movement over the next four months. This is your best chance of getting a school of your choice, as chances at appeal are generally very low because of Infant Class Legislation. For 2018 entry, of 63 registered Primary appeals organised by Medway Council where Infant Class Legislation applied (the overwhelming majority), just two were upheld - the comparable figures in 2018 being 66 appeals registered, one upheld.  

First Choices
Not Offered
% First
Barnsole (G) 90 63  41%
Horsted Infants (C) 60 39 40%
Swingate (C) 90 35 29%
Pilgrim (R) 30 27 48%
Hempstead Infants (G) 90 24 22%
Cliffe Woods (H) 60 19 24%
Academy of Woodlands (G) 90 18 18%
Hundred of Hoo (H) 30 18 38%
St Thomas More  Catholic (C) 60 17 23%
New Horizon Children's (C) 90 15 17%

Note: The letter after the name of each school in the table above indicates the Medway area in which it is situated.

The abbreviation LAA (Local Authority Allocation) in the sections below refers to a child placed by Medway Council at a school they have not applied to, as all their own choices are full. PAN refers to the Published Admission Number of the school.

Seven schools were considerably oversubscribed with first choices for September, five of them being the same as last year, including the second and third most oversubscribed schools in Medway. Horsted Infants (Ofsted Outstanding) led the way with 39 first choices disappointed, having shot up from last year's 14. Next came Swingate with 35; St Thomas More Catholic (having had vacancies in 2018, but now benefitting from the third highest KS2 performance in Medway last summer in terms of proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard), with 17; New Horizon (15); Walderslade (10) and All Saints CofE with seven.  Oaklands Primary had 25 vacancies in 2018, too late for its Ofsted Report, which had improved to Good but published after applications were made last year. However, it has benefitted in 2019 by being oversubscribed for the first time in recent years. Highest vacancy figure at 50% empty spaces is St John's CofE Infants, higher than last year,  Next came Luton Infants with 39% empty spaces following its third consecutive Requires Improvement Ofsted, in sharp contrast to the linked Junior School which has an Outstanding Ofsted assessment, a rare Medway Council school success. Then comes Wayfield with 33% vacancies, in spite of its strong KS2 results last summer, underlined by a powerful Ofsted Good rating in May this year as an academy. This replaced its failed Ofsted before it was taken away from the Griffin Trust in 2016, who managed to bring it down from Good under Medway Council in 2013.    
Barnsole Primary, with its Outstanding Ofsted, turned away 63 first choices for its 90 places, by far the highest number in Medway, and pipped as highest in Kent for the second time by the Brent Primary in Dartford. It will have been helped by three other schools with difficult histories nearby. Just two other seriously oversubscribed schools at Hempstead Infants (24), and Woodlands Academy (18).

Eight of the 14 schools have vacancies, most at Twydall with 44% of places empty, whose recent history is reported here. The two other schools with over 20% empty spaces suffer from a difficult Ofsted history, Napier Community (43%) with repeated ‘Requires Improvement’, and Saxon Way (25%),  Special Measures under Medway Council control but now ‘Good’ as an academy. 

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Last modified on Thursday, 30 April 2020 17:16


  • Comment Link Monday, 15 July 2019 06:37 posted by Worried Governor

    I am a governor of a proposed feeder school to Greenway Academy. We are doing due diligence on the Castle Trust. There is potential for Castle Trust to take over this infant school. Any information on the Trust and advice would be welcomed. I am a bit concerned about recent Ofsted reports surrounding big schools linked to the Castle Trust. PETER: See the update link to the Delce Academy Special Measures Ofsted. The Trust comprises only two primary schools, so you may have wandered into another Trust with Castle in the name, with multiple schools

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 26 June 2019 16:53 posted by Rob Carpenter

    Please be aware that Elaine Primary School joined the Inspire Partnership in May 2018 which means the academic results for that year are not attributed to the Inspire Partnership. You will be pleased to know that the outcomes for 2019 in early years, key stage one and key stage two are transformed, highlighting just what amazing potential the community has. These changes have been achieved by staff, parents, children and governors all working together through collaboration in an environment where relationships come first.
    I am also pleased to share with you that the pupil roll has increased by over 20 students since the school joined the partnership. For the first time in a generation, Elaine Primary School is being seen as a school of choice and rightly so.
    I would be delighted for you to come and visit us to see the positive changes for yourself.
    You will receive a warm welcome. The only request I would like to make is please can you amend the comments made about Elaine Primary School. It does not a fair reflection of how far the school has come or the ethos of the Inspire Partnership. Thank you. Rob Carpenter. PETER: Thank you for this and when the KS2 results for 2019 are published I shall happily highlight them. The fact remains that these are and were the latest results available for parents when they made decisions about school applications and no doubt influenced many of those choices, the sole reason I mentioned them. For the fact remains that Elaine was NOT a school of choice having the highest percentage of vacancies in the whole of Medway, having 70% unfilled places just ahead of Delce Academy (67% and the subject of a more recent article) and 20% above the fourth placed school. I am happy to accept that the tide may be turning and again I will acknowledge that when it is formalised next year. Thank you for the invitation to visit, but I am afraid I don't do this for the many schools keen to show me their improvements (as you suggest from the increase in rolls) some of which come to pass.

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