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Saturday, 17 March 2012 22:17

Secondary Transfer: In and out of Kent & Medway

I now have official details of the pattern of children crossing the Kent and Medway boundaries to take up secondary school places, and it gives a very different picture from the more lurid headlines which greeted the initial figures released by Kent County Council on 1st March. I have divided the cross border movement into four sections below: North West Kent; West Kent; South Kent; and Medway. I don't have precise figures for which part of county children live in so some of these figures are best estimates. The headline figures are: 560 children from out of Kent are taking up places in Kent secondary schools, with 477 going the other way. But don't jump to conclusions. Read the following:...

Abbreviation: ooc = out of county.

You will find a number of other articles below this one, that look at different aspects of the secondary transfer figures in Kent and Medway

Medway Boundary - 151 Medway children into Kent schools; 148 Kent children into Medway schools

Whilst this sounds an equal exchange, a detailed analysis shows otherwise, with 105 Kent children pouring into the five Medway  grammar schools, 31 to Rochester Grammar and roughly equal numbers to each of the other four, underlining the sharply falling rolls in Medway. This still leaves over a hundred grammar school places empty in Medway before appeals. Just seven Medway children went the other way to Kent grammar schools. There are 43 Kent children going to Medway non-selective schools, the majority to Walderslade Girls and Greenacre from the small area of Kent to the south of Walderslade and the Bluebell Hill area where there is no convenient alternative. The vast majority going the other way head for Holmesdale Technology College, down the road in Snodland - 79 in total. The key result of this movement is the 300 vacant spaces left in total in 6 Medway non-selective schools, which will certainly increase after appeals to grammar schools take place. And Medway Council is planning for a controversial new 14-18 University Technology College, which would prove the death knell of at least one of these! 

North West Kent  - 237 ooc children into Kent schools; 121 the other way

With all  the focus on West Kent it is easy to overlook that this is the area with the greatest pressure on places. Four grammar schools; Dartford Grammar School (59); Dartford Grammar School for Girls (8); Wilmington Grammar School for Girls (84 - out of an intake of 120); and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys (46) are admitting 197 children from the London Boroughs in total. These figures are all up on last year except DGSG which had more local girls qualifying for 2012 entry, but was unable to take them all. This sets up enormous problems for grammar school qualified children living in the NW Kent hinterland, many of whom have lost out on grammar school places completely. 55 of the incomers are from Lewisham and Greenwich (an easy train ride) nearly half of these to Dartford Grammar. Just 21 Kent children go to grammar schools the other way. Few from ooc come into NW Kent non-selective schools, but 37 go out to Catholic schools in Bexley, and 36 to Haberdasher's Aske's Crayford Academy (probably due to the extreme shortage of non-selective secondary places in Dartford), another 27 going to other schools.   

West Kent - 122 ooc children into Kent schools; 184 the other way.

This of course is the area which creates the greatest controversy, possibly for political reasons. However the figures bear close examination before one jumps to conclusions. The school that takes in the greatest number of ooc children is Bennett Memorial CofE School (29). Skinners (25); Judd (23) and Tonbridge Grammar (22) follow, admitting most of the remainder. The first three all took more ooc this year than 2011, TGS the same. Judd and Skinners therefore take in about 20% of their intake from outside Kent, nearly all from East Sussex. This roughly equates to the number of grammar qualified West Kent boys without a grammar school place at all. The two Bromley super-selective grammar schools take six Kent children in return, probably from West Kent. What is startling is that whilst few other ooc children cross to the remaining Kent non-selective schools, 76 go from Kent to the three nearest East Sussex comprehensives (Beacon, Robertsbridge and Uplands); 45 to Oxted School in Surrey; and 37 to Sackville Community College in East Grinstead, West Sussex. Just imagine what would happen if KCC had to provide places for all of these! The crisis in provision of primary school places is therfore also potentially in secondary schools, for no way could Kent provide for all its local children without exporting such large numbers. I don't yet have the full figures, but this emigration must be putting an enormous squeeze on the new Skinners Kent Academy. 

South Kent - 17 ooc children into Kent schools; 45 the other way.

Here the movement is almost entirely accounted for by two schools. 16 ooc children are going to Homewood School, Tenterden (not sure about the reason for this) and 45 Kent children are going to Rye Community College, presumably from Romney Marsh, further depleting numbers at Marsh Academy.    

Last modified on Sunday, 14 April 2013 07:51

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