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Friday, 20 March 2020 06:15

Oversubscription & Vacancies Kent Non-Selective Secondary Schools 2020


You will find data on allocations, appeals and academic performance, for each school in the Individual Schools Section of this website. Currently, the large data bank is up to date, although commentary is lagging behind in a few cases where indicated (update in progress, or on request).
All five schools are full for the second consecutive year, including Homewood in Tenterden, which has increased its massive intake by 20 places to 440, by some way the largest in Kent. This includes 55 children form East Sussex. Wye School, in its makeshift premises as part of the old Wye College, has reduced its intake back to 96 (three classes of 32) presumably because there is no room for four classes as last year. 82 disappointed first choices as a result. John Wallis saw an increase of first choices by 46, third highest figure in Kent, and turned away 59 first choices. The North School  increased its intake by 40 places this year to 240, and then offered a further 16 places to take it up to 256, although the number of first choices fell by 45 (presumably shifting over to John Wallis). The school endured a dispute last summer between KCC and Swale Academies Trust which manages it, but which does not yet appear to have been resolved.  Last year the two grammar schools took out a high 82 children on appeal from the n/s schools, so this will ease matters considerably if the same pattern is followed for 2020. 

There are new secondary schools in the pipeline to cater for future housing developments; but the first of these at Chilmington Green is not due until 2022, so existing schools will need to expand further to pick up the shortfall.   

There is an enormous pressure here, even with an additional 57 places being created in 2020. Every school is full on allocation, except for Archbishop’s which appears to be in freefall from once being the most popular school in the District, now with four vacancies and 66 of the 84 District LAAs. In order to cope with the numbers, even Archbishop’s was forced to take in an additional class, along with Canterbury Academy whose increase was planned and commissioned by KCC.  Most oversubscribed school was again Herne Bay High turning away 68 first choices followed by the rehabilitated Whitstable School with 47, just a few years down the road from being the school of last resort. Indeed, Whitstable School saw the highest increase in first choices this year, of any school, up by 86. The delayed opening of the new Barton Manor School in Canterbury, now due in 2021 (construction works permitting) will be very welcome (except by Archbishop’s). Pressure on places will probably be eased a little as Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar traditionally admits a high number of girls on appeal.
The landscape has changed considerably since the opening of the new Stone Lodge School last year, overnight becoming the most oversubscribed school in the District, turning away 59 disappointed first choices for its 120 places.

The big loser is, as is to be expected, Ebbsfleet Academy with 29 of the 32 vacancies in the District (there were none last year), and 31 LAAs. However, under a new headteacher, this is better than it could have been with the notorious Alison Colwell having fled to run a private school in Mallorca. She is seeking to exact her revenge with a book to be published in August. This is reportedly an exposé of her experiences at Ebbsfleet under the title of ‘The Secret Headteacher’. The puff for this (a previous version, since deleted, identifies the author) predictably contains one of the many falsehoods claimed about the school under her headship.

Also losing out is the Inspiration Leigh Academy oversubscribed since its opening three years ago, but now allocated 18 children as LAAs and still with three vacancies. This is intended to bolt on to the struggling Leigh UTC, very short of numbers with its entry at Year 10 admitting just 40 pupils in a school with PAN 120 in 2019. The whole setup is starting to look very shaky. Every other school is oversubscribed.

Around 75 out of county children have been offered places in Dartford secondary schools, the large majority from Bexley, with a similar number crossing the border the other way.  With Ebbsfleet Garden City expanding at great pace, there is sufficient capacity in the District, until 2021-22 when the Alkerden School comes on stream.

Last modified on Monday, 14 June 2021 17:00


  • Comment Link Wednesday, 22 April 2020 23:39 posted by Rachel

    I am 8th on knoles waiting list... is this positive? I have also put in an appeal PETER: No promises but you should get there after the grammar school appeals.

  • Comment Link Friday, 03 April 2020 05:14 posted by Stargazer

    KCC is mad not to plan for future hosing developments. Covid-19 or not, the houses are coming.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 28 March 2020 04:42 posted by Emily W.

    Peter, We applied for Trinity as our first choice, Hillview Girls second, and were offered Knole third. Yet you report 100 first choices turned down at Knole with popularity soaring, and 56 at Trinity with popularity falling. What is going on? PETER: All in order I am afraid. The system is complicated but logical. It first of all produces a list for each school in order for all those who have expressed a preference. Then it offers you a place at your highest preference school for which you are eligible. Then takes you out of any lower preferences and repeats the exercise to see anyone now gets a higher preference. It keeps doing this until it has (is) exhausted all the possibilities. You had a stronger case at Knole than Trinity, which only gives fewer than 90 'Open Places' to those who live nearest without a faith or other priority, so the distance cut off will be close. Knole has increased massively in popularity since the previous head left, but still offers nearly all of its 255 places on distance grounds which go out further, and you had a better claim here. Still complicated I know, but as fair as can be.

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 23:24 posted by Dover Girl

    What has happened in Dover? You report two schools oversubscribed, when last year there were none. We didn't get into St Edmund's or Christ Church. We are not Catholic but its the best school. We have been given Astor. PETER: Where they came from I am not sure, but there are an extra 84 children in the three Dover schools. Some may have come up from Folkestone, some from towards Deal as Goodwin Academy is also oversubscribed for the first time, and there is enormous pressure in Canterbury schools. I suspect you stand a good chance on appeal or off the waiting list at Dover Christ Church at least, but go for both.

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 16:17 posted by Despairing Thanet Parent

    We are Thanet parents whose daughter has been offered Hartsdown after being rejected from all our four choices. We are in despair. Home Education is all wrong for us and we haven't got the background anyway. We can't afford private. Please give us some good advice. PETER: Sadly, I am afraid have little for you or any others of the 100+ families in the same situation. It is trite to say you will have to put up with it and hope the school is improving - I hear various claims that things are changing. What I think is important is that your daughter is given some encouragement about the school by you somehow.
    I just wish there was something else I could say.

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 12:40 posted by MSST parent in waiting

    Are you suggesting that Maidstone Schol of Science and Technology may not open in September. PETER: The construction industry is closing down for the time being. There must be a risk unless the project is past the critical date. I have merely asked the question and am waiting for a reassuring reply

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 12:36 posted by Seeker after Knowledge

    So which is the worst Academy Trust in Kent, Turner Schools or Brook Learning Trust?
    PETER: There were worse - Lilac Sky and SchoolsCompany, both corrupt, but both closed down by government. These are both small Trusts: Brook - three secondary schools; Turner - two secondary and two primary. There have been others, TKAT appears to have got its act together, but nothing springs to mind. I would go for Turner Schools on the scale of its misrepresentations and false claims about its awful performance.

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