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Monday, 10 June 2019 19:09

Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Primary Schools: 2019

Index

Hoo Peninsula
This is becoming the tightest area of Medway through rising numbers, with six of the nine schools having no vacancies. Most popular is Cliffe Woods, turning away 19 first choices, with its Outstanding Ofsted and 90% of pupils achieving the Expected Standard at KS2, highest equal in Medway. It is followed by Hundred of Hoo all through Academy with 18 and Chattenden with 11.  Most vacancies are at Allhallows, at the very tip of the Peninsula, furthest from the population centres, with 53% of its 30 places empty, fewer than normal for this school of just 86 pupils. Two consecutive Good Ofsted Inspections may have helped retain pupils. Next is St James CofE with 27. 
 
Rainham
Thames View is the only one of the seven schools without vacancies, turning away just five first choices. Most vacancies are at Miers Court with 45% of their 60 places empty. This is after three consecutive Good Ofsteds all before academisation with the Howard Trust, but subsequently one of the lowest KS2 performances in Medway in 2018 
 
Rochester
Delce Academy
Important Update here, looking at Special Measures update and in more detail at Castle Trust. 
This school deserves a paragraph on its own. Delce Junior School was Ofsted Good before it became an academy in 2014, when it formed the CASTLE Trust. The Trust then provided support for a converter academy in West Sussex, Greenway Academy,  sharing its headteacher. Greenway had converted to be a stand alone academy two years earlier in 2012 and then had two Requires Improvement Inspections, making four in a row.  A Monitoring Ofsted Inspection in January 2016, praised the excellent support provided by Delce and shortly afterwards it formally joined the CASTLE Trust, being assessed as Good by Ofsted in June 2017. Unfortunately, Delce Academy was heading in the opposite direction being found to Require Improvement two months before: 'The chair of the local governing body (who is also chair of the Castle Trust), said that too often governors trust what the headteacher (who is also the chief executive officer of the trust) tells them.(Trust Directors) have not been focused enough on the current performance of Delce Academy'. 
For September 2016, the Trust had made the strange decision to extend the age range of Delce Academy down to admit infants, in direct competition with its linked schools, Delce Infants and St Peter's Infants. Pupils at these two schools feed naturally into Delce Academy at Year Three, and are given priority in the Admissions Policy.  It attracted 21 pupils for admission in September 2017 for its 30 places. In order to provide clear water between the two schools, Delce Infant School changed its name to Crest Infant School. For 2018 the infant allocation figure for Delce Academy fell to 12 and for admission in September 2019 it is down further to 10, in contrast to Crest's 75 offers for its 90 places and St Peter's 21 offers for 30 places. Together, there are not enough children to fill Crest and St Peter's with some parents presumably trying to avoid the whole set up. The KS2 performance of Delce Academy is now well below average in Medway. It has a PAN of 130 for external admissions into Year Three, but only offered places to 97, including eight Local Authority Allocations, confirming the unhappiness some families have about the school.
 
Also strangely, the CASTLE Trust advertises on its website,  a new Free School, the Bridge Specialist Academy,  to offer 40 places in the 5 to 11 age range, for children with  Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) issues and opening in September 2019! The website also boasts (June 2019) that 'We are incredibly proud of all the achievements of the pupils at Bridge Academy'!  I am unable to find any other references to this 'school'. Fantasy land.  
 
Just one of the eleven Rochester primary schools has more than two first choices turned away, the Pilgrim School with its Outstanding Ofsted before it academised in 2016 and, along with Cliffe Woods, the highest percentage of pupils reaching the Expected Level at KS2 in 2018, at 90%. Not surprisingly it was proportionally the most oversubscribed school in Medway turning away 48% of those who placed it first choice for its 30 places. 
 
With an overall vacancy rate of 20% in Rochester, the Rochester schools with the most vacancies are:  Delce (67% ); Halling (33%), which raised its PAN by 20 places to 60 in 2018, and would otherwise have filled; and St Peter's Infants (30%), the second school linked with Delce Academy.,
 
Strood
The only school significantly oversubscribed is Hilltop Primary, with nine first choices turned away.
 
Elaine Primary, taken away from the failed Williamson Trust after its dire performance first reported here, continues to fall under its new sponsors with the lowest percentage of pupils attaining the expected level in Medway in 2018, at 35%. Not surprisingly it attracted just 15 pupils for its 50 places, making up nearly half of all the 80 vacancies in Strood. 
 
Junior Schools
As these 12 schools are mainly admitting pupils from linked Infant schools who have priority for admissions, there should be little of note to record. However:
 
In Rochester, see the Delce Academy story above. Balfour Junior Academy has turned away 20 first choices, being just half a mile from Delce and presumably attracting applications from families unhappy with Delce offers.
 
Horsted Junior School turned away 10 first choice offers. For most of the other schools, intake numbers matched those of the linked infant schools. 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 02 July 2019 10:41

2 comments

  • 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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