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Monday, 24 May 2021 18:38

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Kent Primary Schools: 2021


For 2020 Allocations Article on the Areas in this section, go to here. 

There are 17% vacancies across Thanet, the KCC Commissioning Plan noting again: 'We forecast surplus primary school places across the district throughout the Plan period'. However, some schools are still heavily oversubscribed arising from a considerable polarisation of choice. Most oversubscribed of the 27 schools is again Chilton (A), Ramsgate, with  39 first choices rejected following its Outstanding Ofsted and excellent KS2 results in 2019, followed by Holy Trinity and St John's CofE, Margate, with 33, putting both amongst the most popular schools in the county. They are followed by: St Mildred’s Priory Infants, Broadstairs; 29,  Palm Bay, Margate, 27; Cliftonville (A) and Holy Trinity CofE, Ramsgate, both with 20.

 13 of the Thanet primary schools have vacancies, headed up by Drapers Mill (A), Margate, a TKAT Academy which would have had 66% of its places unfilled in spite of its Good Ofsted Report and above-average KS2 Progress performance in 2019, were it not for being allocated 17 LAA children, the second-highest figure in the county. One has to ask why the LAAs weren’t shared around other schools with vacancies, to which parents can simply ask for their children to be transferred if they don't like this option. Ellington Infants in Ramsgate has 60% empty spaces, followed by followed by Dame Janet (A), Ramsgate, 59%, TKAT Academy, Good Ofsted but below average Progress; Northdown (A), Margate 42%, TKAT Academy, Ofsted Requires Improvement; and Newlands (A), Ramsgate 40%, also run by TKAT, Ofsted Good. Salmestone, the final TKAT primary school, in Margate, solved the problem by reducing its PAN by 30 places, to 30 in total, so it now filled, even turning one first choice away. As I wrote last year, whatever TKAT is doing to improve standards it doesn’t appear to ride well with parents.   

Once again just three schools out of the 15 are significantly oversubscribed with Sussex Road leading the way for the second year, turning away 22 first choices. It is followed by Slade, regularly amongst the most popular schools in Kent, with 19, the same number as Ightham, the latter now benefitting from its Outstanding Ofsted in 2019, which just missed out on the closing date for applications last year. The power of such an outcome can be seen by the 2020 data when Ightham only just filled.   

Just five schools had vacancies led by Cage Green (A), which had 58% of its places empty. The school failed its Ofsted in 2019 under KCC control, was then taken over by the Connect Schools Academy Trust, but does not yet appear to have recovered parental confidence. Royal Rise (A) (previously suffered the same fate as St Stephen’s primary), but was taken over by the strong Cygnus Academy Trust, based in Dartford, achieved strong Key Stage Two results in 2019 and, partly as a result, has filled for each of the last two years. Long Mead Community would have exceeded this, but for being given eight LAAs, the largest number in Tonbridge.

Tunbridge Wells
Claremont has resumed its position as one of Kent’s most oversubscribed schools, with 54 disappointed first places, after missing out last year. Second is Skinners Kent Academy (A) a long way down with 14 first choices oversubscribed, followed by St Peter’s CofE 13, St John’s CofE 12, and St James CofE 11, the last regularly appearing amongst the oversubscribed schools when it recruited as an Infang school before amalgamation with the Juniors. 

Eight of the 20 schools have vacancies, including Broadwater Down, which was once again propped up by LAAs, eleven this year leaving it with just five empty places, followed by St Augustine’s Catholic (A) with 15 of its 45 places vacant.  

Junior Schools
There are 26 Junior schools in Kent, most linked with Infant schools offering a straightforward follow-on system, children at the linked Infant school having priority for admission.

This year, of the 1902 children applying for places at one or more of these schools all but 29 were offered their first choice. Half of these were in the Canterbury District with its five Junior schools, most at Whitstable & Seasalter Endowed CofE Juniors, with eight.

There were 239 vacancies in all, 11% of the total with four schools having 20% or more which may depend on other factors than their own reputation such as the number coming through from the linked Infant school, or other opportunities in the area.



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Last modified on Wednesday, 26 May 2021 20:41


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