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Tuesday, 28 April 2020 20:12

Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Primary Schools: 2020

Index

Rochester
The eleven Rochester primary schools have 13% vacancies between them, on allocation; 77 children who did not get their first choice; and 17 who had no school of their choice.

There were just two schools significantly oversubscribed. The Pilgrim School turned away 24 first choices, being Ofsted Outstanding with 90% of children reaching the Expected Standard, the highest performer in Medway.  Next comes St William of Perth Catholic with 11 disappointed first choices. After them came St Margaret's at Troy Town and Balfour Infants, both turning away six first choices, and Halling Primary with three, another school with a very high proportion of children reaching 'Expected Level' at KS2, with 83%.

Pilgrim 3

Delce Academy
The Delce Academy with its unwarranted extension from Junior school to all through primary, in direct competition with its former linked school, Crest Infants, and second feeder school St Peter’s CofE which is fighting back by increasing its intake from 30 to 40 places. Crest had a strong Good Ofsted in February, Inspectors recording that : 'The school has been through a challenging time in recent years. Numbers of pupils on roll have fallen for reasons beyond the school’s control. Leaders have shown calm, determined leadership throughout this unsettled period. As a result, pupils continue to achieve well. Staff morale is high'. St Peter's had a Good Ofsted in 2018, both far better than the most recent Delce Special Measures in May last year. Between them, the three schools have offered 97 places out of 160 available, with 10 of these being LAAs, in other words the controversial extension is weakening all three. The story of the appalling Delce Academy, its useless Trustees and Directors, the spineless Medway Council  and the highly paid headteacher who left the chaos behind and moved on to higher things, all of whom failed the children of Delce, is told here and in previous articles.  Not surprisingly Delce Academy was taken away from the Castle Trust, comprising just two schools, and handed over to the Inspire Academy Trust earlier this year, which also runs Elaine Primary in Strood (see below ) and Maundene School in Chatham. In terms of performance Delce had the fifth lowest proportion of children reaching Expected Level in Medway in 2019, with each of the three core subjects being Well Below Average in terms of Progress.

 

Strood
The nine Strood primary schools have 12% vacancies between them on allocation.26 children did not get their first choice; there were 59 vacancies and fewer than three children had no school of their choice.

The only schools significantly oversubscribed  are Hilltop Primary, with twelve first choices turned away, and Temple Mill (11), run by the Howard Academy Trust, up to Ofsted Good from Special Measures, and one of the best set of Progress Grades at KS2 in Medway.

Hilltop      Temple Mill Primary

Elaine Primary School, brought to its knees under the abysmal Williamson Trust as explained here, is now making good progress under the Inspire Partnership after it was re-brokered. Whilst it has 27 of its 54 places empty, this is better than in 2019 when there were 35. It has gone from having the lowest proportion of children reaching Expected Level at KS2 in Medway in 2018, to being midway in 2019, with progress across the three core subjects just above average. Maundene School in Chatham, also part of the Inspire Partnership, has gone from second lowest performer in 2018, to achieving a very similar middle of the table profile for 2019. My comments on Inspire via the link above were very much on the lines of ‘unproven’, but the evidence of how it can turn schools round is now clear, as must be hoped for by the families of Delce Academy in Rochester, see above. Unfortunately whilst a school can be ruined in one year, it can take five or more to restore its reputation with parents, but this is a good start.

Bligh Primary, historically a sound KS2 performer has been re-brokered to The Maritime Trust, along with Barnsole (see above), as it joined it at the foot of the 2019 performance table, and saw the number of vacancies increase to 16%, second highest in Strood.

For 2021 or 2022 entry, the new all through Maritime Academy run by Thinking Schools Academy Trust will open, admitting 60 Reception age children, so all this may be put at risk as there is not a great demand for additional places locally at present, and the less popular schools will be under pressure.

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. Delce currently has capacity for 160  pupils, with 30 reserved for pupils from the Infant section. The current Year Two of Crest and St Peter’s infant schools have a combined total of 89 pupils, along with 27 from the Delce's own Infant section. The fact that just 59 places have been offered, leaving 71 empty spaces must be very worrying, as there are at least 30 children who have found places elsewhere, with Balfour Junior, being just half a mile from Delce oversubscribed by just six first choices.

The other schools with vacancies are Hempstead Junior (23), possibly still re-building its reputation after the troubles of four years ago, Gordon Junior (20), Phoenix Junior (13), and Featherby Junior (9, most recent Ofsted Special Measures in 2017, before being taken over by Maritime Academy Trust .


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