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Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:34

Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Non-Selective Schools September 2021


The major news is that the new Leigh Academy Rainham (LAR) is opening in September offering 240 places, 60 more than the planned 180, whilst the second new non-selective (N/S) school coming on stream, the Maritime Academy to be based in Strood will not open until at least 2022, several years behind schedule, see below.

Leigh Academy Rainham 2

As the new Rainham School is not in the Medway Co-ordinated Admissions scheme for its first year, many parents will have applied for and been allocated two schools, so there will be up to 240 vacancies appearing at the 17 existing schools for September, as parents release one of their offers. This is nearly 10% of the total, so that some schools, primarily the least popular and those in the east of Medway will see a large number of vacancies opening up. Add on to that, the 70 or so children likely to be successful at Medway grammar school appeals. What then happens next is what I call the ‘churning’ effect, where the more popular schools that lose pupils then fill up again from ones further down the line, probably working from east to west. It is therefore important that, if you haven't been offered your highest choice N/S school, you apply to go on the waiting list for this and any other schools higher on your preference list than the one you have been offered. Last year there were also 135 admission appeals heard at five Medway non-selective schools, 53 of those being successful, taking pupils from less popular schools

 I understand that Medway Council, which is also handling the process for LAR, has required parents to accept just one offer and is writing to those with two to require them to relinquish one. I believe the current table of offers below, although some way from the final outcome, still gives a reasonable guide to outcomes, identifying the schools at both ends of the range.

 I also look below at a range of other matters that have a bearing on the take-up of places, including ooc offers, appeals, fair banding, and concluding with a look at the outcomes for each individual school.

The article follows on from my initial survey of 2021 allocations published earlier in the month, including my preliminary and more general thoughts with preliminary data. You will find the equivalent article here for 2020 allocations. The parallel article on Medway grammar schools for 2021 is here, with the 2021 Kent grammar and non-selective schools via the links. You will find a profile of every separate Medway secondary school here, including admission data (updated with the present figures), appeal outcomes, academic results and Ofsted records. 

The most oversubscribed school is Brompton Academy, with 239 first choices turned down, over a hundred more rejections than any other school in Kent and Medway. Next is Thomas Aveling with 70, and Strood with 33. At the other end of the scale are St John Fisher Catholic, which although technically full has 62 children allocated by the Local Authority (LAA) who did not apply for it, and Walderslade Girls, the only school that technically has vacancies, with five, along with 33 LAAs. Howard and Rainham Girls, the other two Rainham schools nearest to LAR are both full but with no disappointed first choices. They are the only two schools to have increased their admission number, no doubt to try and retain pupils.

March 2020 Allocations
The following table provides most of the relevant information, with notes about individual schools below. 
Medway Secondary Non-Selective Allocations March 2021
1st Prefs
Brompton Academy* 230
0 450 0 230 239  0
Greenacre Academy 180 -5 155 0 180  2 0
Howard School 302 +32 222 0 307 0 0
Hundred of Hoo 300 -5 237  11 300 0 0
Rainham Girls 
+7 236
Robert Napier 210 0 122 13  210  0  0 
St John Fisher Catholic 180 0 63 62  180  0  0 
Strood Academy*  240  -20 238  0  240  33  0 
Thomas Aveling 220 0 256  0  220  70  0 
Victory Academy* 210 -30 147  11  210  1 0 
Walderslade Girls 180 0 101  39  174 0  5

Notes: * Refers to schools that apply a Fair Banding Test, see below for details. 

Out of Medway pupils
70 pupils from outside Medway have been offered places in Medway N/S schools, an increase on last year’s 55, including 17 offered places at Rainham Girls, 12 at Greenacre and ten at the Howard. Approximately 100 Medway pupils having been offered N/S places outside the Council area, 90 at Kent schools, with 32 heading for the two Catholic schools, St John’s in Gravesend and St Simon Stock in Maidstone, presumably to avoid Medway’s less popular Catholic school, St John Fisher.  16 head down the A249 to Aylesford, another 12 to Holmesdale, the remainder in small numbers to 13 other Kent N/S schools.
Non-Selective Appeals
Medway Non-Selective Appeals 2021
  Appeals Upheld
Brompton Academy 55 10
Howard fewer than 5 0
Rainham Girls 37 37
Strood Academy 23 1
Thomas Aveling 17 5
You will find appeal comments in the Individual Schools section below. In general, I anticipate there will be far fewer appeals in this sector for 2021 admissions, because of the LAR effect. 
Fair Banding Test
Brompton, Strood, and Victory Academies set the Fair Banding Test for all applicants. If your child has not taken this, they will be the last children to be considered for places. at the schools. It is explained by Medway Council here. It is not a pass/fail test but designed to give each school a fair spread of abilities in its intake. The test places children in an ability band, numbers in each band to be admitted allocated according to a ‘normal’ distribution. Children are then prioritised in each band by distance. Because some 25% of children are taken out for grammar school places, this leaves fewer candidates for the highest bands and therefore easier to access.  For 2021 admissions, the only one of the three schools where this will have operated for first choices is Strood Academy.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 15 June 2021 05:59

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