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Sunday, 16 March 2014 00:00

Secondary School Allocation 2014: Movement in and out of Kent and Medway

This is my second annual analysis of the pattern of children crossing the Kent and Medway boundaries. You will find the 2013 figures here

I now have official details of the pattern of children crossing the Kent and Medway boundaries to take up secondary school places for 2013 entry and, as in previous years it gives a very different picture from the more lurid headlines on this issue. I have divided the cross border movement into four sections below: Medway; North West Kent; West Kent & South Kent. I don't have precise figures for which part of the county children live in so some of these figures are best estimates. The headline figures are: 602 (589 in 2013) children from out of Kent are taking up places in Kent secondary schools, with 441 (436) coming the other way, figures very similar to 2013 & 2012. For Medway it is 188 in and 111 out. But don't jump to conclusions. Read the following:...

Abbreviation: ooc = out of county.

Please note that all the figures given below refer to allocation son 3rd March 2014 for admission in September. Between these two dates, there is considerable movement through waiting lists, appeals, and children especially in West Kent taking up increasingly generous scholarships in private schools, as many of these come under increasing pressure to keep up both pupil numbers and their academic quality. I suspect that the net effect of such movement  is to reduce the number of cross-border admissions, but have not investigated this effect further. 

Medway Boundary - 110 (111) Medway children into Kent schools; 167 (148) Kent children into Medway schools. 
107 Kent children will be entering the six Medway  grammar schools.
46 of these are going to Rochester Grammar and roughly equal numbers to each of the other five, although there are still 130 grammar school places empty in Medway before appeals. I suspect that very few of the other 17, all but one from London Boroughs as far away as Croydon will actually take up the places offered. Just eight Medway children went the other way to seven different Kent grammar schools. There are 60(42) Kent children going to Medway non-selective schools the increase possible reflecting this being the last year when secondary numbers in Medway fall. The majority of these are going to four schools, 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, most of the rest to Rainham School for Girls and Howard School, probably having failed to gain admission to the very oversubscribed schools in Sittingbourne. The large majority going the other way are the 42 heading for Holmesdale Technology College, down the road in Snodland, with 9 to Malling School and 15 going to Kent Catholic Schools. 


North West Kent  - 298 (251) ooc children into Kent schools; (83) 111 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.

wilmington girls

Four grammar schools; Dartford Grammar School 26 (48); Dartford Grammar School for Girls 17 (12); Wilmington Grammar School for Girls 89 - out of an intake of 120 (82); and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys 82 (68) are admitting 214 (220) children from the London Boroughs in total. Pressure on places for these schools from the London Boroughs is enormous, with Dartford Grammar School 146 (135) first choices turned away, the most oversubscribed school in Kent and Dartford Grammar School for Girls 89 (85) not far behind. This has often set up problems for grammar school qualified children living in the NW Kent hinterland, although with pressure on places at the Gravesend Grammar Schools eased for the second year (they have recently offered places to all grammar qualified applicants), and the additional places created again in West Kent, this does not appear to have been a problem. The pattern next year promises to be very different with Wilmington Grammar Boys giving priority to Kent boys from their local hinterland, and Dartford Grammar increasing its intake by 30 boys to 180. Three quarters of the incomers come from Bexley and Bromley, but 35 are from Greenwich (an easy train ride). Just 33 Kent children go to grammar schools the other way in Bexley - 19 and Bromley -14 (although some of the latter will have come from West Kent). An increasing number from ooc come into NW Kent non-selective schools (13 to Dartford Technology College, 11 to Leigh Academy, 8 into Wilmington Academy) but 25 go out to Catholic schools in Bexley, and 24 to Haberdasher's Aske's Crayford Academy (probably due to the extreme shortage of non-selective secondary places for boys in Dartford), another 34 going to other schools.


West Kent - 177 (150) ooc children into Kent schools; 116 (114) the other way.

This of course is the area which creates the greatest controversy, possibly for political reasons. However the figures for grammar schools are far smaller than suggested by candidates passing the Kent Test.


The school that usually takes in the greatest number of ooc children is Bennett Memorial CofE School 33 (32), but overtaken for the second year running by Judd at 36 (33), then Tonbridge Grammar 31(24) follow, Knole Academy 30, Skinners 26 (22); and  admitting most of the remainder. Even though all four schools took in an extra form of entry for 2014 admission for the second consecutive year, this figure is much lower than the usual media scare stories. In the battle between the Bromley and  Kent super-selectives, the three Kent schools appear on top drawing 26 children from Bromley. Meanwhile, The Judd School is sending out signals that when it runs its own tests from 2016 entry, it will be looking to take a higher proportion of children from Kent. Whilst few other ooc children cross to the remaining Kent non-selective schools, 61 go from Kent to the two nearest East Sussex comprehensives (Beacon and Uplands); 40 (37) to Oxted School in Surrey; and 15 (27) to Sackville Community College in East Grinstead, West Sussex. 


South Kent - 26 (17) ooc children into Kent schools; 47 the other way.
Here the movement is almost entirely accounted for by two schools.
Homewood School
24 (14) ooc children are going to Homewood School, Tenterden and 39 (34) Kent children are going to Rye Community College, presumably from Romney Marsh, further depleting numbers at Marsh Academy. 
Last modified on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 19:24

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