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Tuesday, 28 April 2020 20:12

Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Primary Schools: 2020


The 19 Chatham primary schools  have 12% vacancies between them, on allocation; 110 children who did not get their first choice; and 19 who had no school of their choice. 

Historically, Greenvale Infants School has been linked with Phoenix Junior Academy (both schools on the same site) so that children pass seamlessly from one to the other, but they are now both transforming into separate all-through primary schools, with both sets of new arrangements to begin this September. Unlike the Delce disaster (see below), this appears to be a mutually agreed decision in line with Council policy, and generating an additional 15 places per year group.

Greenvale      Phoenix

Greenvale Infants, currently a two form entry school has reduced to one form of entry from September, but children joining the school this year will now follow through to Year Six. The reduction from two f.e. in 2019 has left the school 14 first choices oversubscribed. Phoenix Junior Academy is introducing 1.5 forms of entry at Reception this year, to balance the numbers, as approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner (Minutes Page Six after the proposal was initially rejected because of poor performance by the school). When the proposal works through, Phoenix Primary Academy will no longer admit pupils in Year Three. There was a proposal for the two schools to combine, but this was rejected by Greenvale. Phoenix, with no Infant reputation or experience, a recent Requires Improvement assessment by Ofsted (down from Good), and a critical review by the RSC, has made a slow start with 30 offers for its 45 places in September, 11 of whom are LAAs, the highest figure of any school in Medway.

Six schools were considerably oversubscribed with first choices for September, five of them being the same as last year, with All Saints CofE (close to Greenvale/Phoenix) shooting up in popularity, turning away 26 first choices. Swingate and Horsted Infants both remain very popular with 24 disappointed first choices. New Road Primary has also become popular this year, oversubscribed with 14 first choices, having had empty spaces in 2019. The four Medway schools with all three KS2 Progress subject grades Well Above Average, are all in Chatham and all have  high proportions of children reaching 'Expected Level' at KS2, although these successes have not yet worked through in popular terms. Three have been sponsored by Griffin Schools Trust an organisation of which I have been critical of in the past: Kingfisher Primary was oversubscribed by two disappointed first choices;  Lordswood has nine vacancies. Wayfield was removed from the Griffin Trust in 2016 after being placed in Special Measures (down from Good) and returned to Good last year under the Primary First Trust the Inspection Report being scathing about Griffin Trust performance. This performance shows the school has clearly completely recovered, and the reason it has 11 vacancies is because its intake number was increased from 30 to 60 for the second consecutive year. The fourth school is the New Horizons Children's Academy, opened in 2014, so the KS2 outcome is only the second achieved by the school's pupils. It also had the third best 'Expected Level' in Medway with 88% of all Year 6 pupils achieving this standard.  

The big loser is St Thomas More Catholic, with its 13 vacancies, down from oversubscription of 17 in 2019, surprising consider its outstanding KS2 performance last summer coming fourth in Medway with 87% of pupils at 'Expected Level'.  Walderslade and Wayfield both have vacancies this year, having expanded by 30 places to an intake of 60, after the PAN's were set. The school struggling most for numbers is St John’s CofE Infants, with fifty per cent of its places empty for the second year running. However, according to the October 2019 census it does pick up pupils through the year with 27 in Year R, after making just 15 offers on allocation. Also struggling is Luton Infants with 30% 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.

Last modified on Thursday, 18 June 2020 16:14


  • Comment Link Monday, 04 May 2020 11:27 posted by Lulu

    Do you know when you will be able to publish the parallel Kent information? PETER: I tried this year to be clever and only asked for a subset of data to avoid problems of small numbers. In the event I asked for too little! So I am waiting for the full package technically due on 15th April, except that KCC have said there may be delays due to Coronavirus. It then takes several days to analyse and publish the information. I am aware how much it is sought after and will get it out as soon as possible.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 03 May 2020 13:23 posted by Richard King

    Thank you Peter, I wondered why Chatham had a page on its own, then I read on. Is it just because Chatham has most children, how do they compare? PETER: Numbers are: Chatham - 959 Reception allocated; Gillingham - 913; Hoo - 291; Rainham - 375; Rochester- 498; Strood - 411. I could create many more percentages with these figures but one has to stop somewhere. But for example,the Hoo Peninsula has by some way the highest proportion of first preferences not offered at 21%, way ahead of the next area, Gillingham, with 13%. Having said all this, Chatham does appear to have a large number of 'interesting' schools

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