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Monday, 15 May 2017 09:38

Oversubscription & Vacancies in Kent Primary schools: Allocation for September 2017


A few years ago, Sevenoaks town was THE hotbed of primary school admissions, with Riverhead Infants regularly most oversubscribed primary school in Kent, with Sevenoaks not far behind but now, for whatever reason, the pattern has changed dramatically. Lady Boswell’s CofE VA is the most popular local school for the second year running, turning away 18 first choices. Riverhead has surely seen the most dramatic fall in the county, down from being the most oversubscribed school in Kent in 2014 with 69 first choices turned away, to disappointing just one family for 2017. Second is St Thomas Catholic with eight first choices turned away.

As usual, the only school with vacancies is Seal, just outside the town, with 18 of its 60 places empty.

I consider Swanley and District separately below, so the only seriously oversubscribed school in the large Sevenoaks hinterland is Anthony Roper Primary in Eynsford, with 16 first choices turned away. Half of the 22 schools have vacancies, most at Edenbridge with 26 and Dunton Green 18.

The overall picture in Folkestone remains similar to that in 2016 with one startling exception, St Mary’s CofE Primary Academy has soared form having vacancies last year to being the eighth most oversubscribed school in Kent turning away 30 first choices. Altogether 9 of the 17 schools are oversubscribed, Sandgate and St Eanswythe’s which are usually at the top, next on 24. Then comes Folkestone Academy (Primary Section) with 10.

Most vacancies are at All Souls, with 44% of its places, a total of 20 children, empty. Then come Martello Grove Academy, another casualty of Lilac Sky, now taken over by Turner Schools with 23%, and Harcourt 20%. Surprisingly, both All Souls and Harcourt have had two consecutive Good OFSTEDs.

Outside Folkestone, there is a massive 21% vacancy level across the 19 schools, headed by Brenzett Primary with two thirds of its 20 places empty, followed by Dymchurch 58% of its 45 places vacant. Both schools’ most recent OFSTED placed them in Special Measures, but they have now both been taken over as an academy by the CofE Canterbury Diocese. Next comes Bodsham, with 7 of its 15 places empty.

Just six schools are oversubscribed, none by more than four first choices.

Four of the ten schools are oversubscribed, headed up by Rose Street, with 17 first choices turned away. It is followed by Eastchurch with 11, Queenborough (Outstanding Ofsted) with 8 and the only oversubscribed former Lilac Sky school, Thistle Hill, now run by Stour Academy Trust, 7.

The two schools with most vacancies are the 90 place capacity West Minster and Halfway Houses, with 30% and 26% vacancies respectively.

The number of oversubscribed schools in the town has dropped from nine to two out of 14, the total number of Reception age children having fallen by 12%. Most oversubscribed is the Ofsted Outstanding Tunstall CofE, rebuilt on a new site just outside town, doubling its previous size to 60 children, but disappointing 16 first choices. The other school is Canterbury Road with 10 disappointed first choices.  

Sunny Bank School, the renamed recent amalgamation of Murston Infant and Juniors, has most vacancies, with 51% of its 45 Reception places empty. Lansdowne, with its most recent Ofsted placing the school in Special Measures, now run by the Stour Academy Trust, has 36% of its 60 places empty, and Milton Court Primary Academy, now out of Special Measures, 27% of its 30%.

Half the rural schools are oversubscribed, led by Bobbing Village school with eight disappointed first choices. Rodmersham has eight and Teynham Parochial CofE 4. Newington CofE has 12 places empty and Hernhill 8, both out of 30.

Three of the 10 schools are oversubscribed, although overall there are 23% of places vacant. These are mainly at four schools: West Kingsdown, now out of Special Measures, with 69% of its 45 places empty; Halsted Community, now Good, 56% of its 25 places; and Hextable, 39% of its 90 places.

Crockenhill and Horizon School, Swanley, are both 8 places oversubscribed, and Downsview, Swanley, just one.

Last modified on Friday, 16 April 2021 06:28


  • Comment Link Saturday, 27 May 2017 21:41 posted by Maidstone HT (details supplied)

    Thanks for this, Peter. I am head of a school just outside the most popular ones, and was shocked to see my numbers fall. Having read this, I have checked with others in the same situation, and we are all suffering. Why has KCC not told us the truth about falling numbers instead of allowing us to think we are failing to attract. PETER: You are right. If the most popular schools stay popular, others will see numbers fall at twice the rate!

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 24 May 2017 04:55 posted by Karen

    Knockhall Primary, Dartford. You say that the school is recovering from its disastrous ownership under Lilac Sky. On the contrary. A lot of inexperienced (unqualified?) teachers are not coping, foul language is being used by some "professionals" in front of the children. We are told that teachers are very unhappy, certainly we as parents are. There is a growing deluge of parents moving their children from the school, including teaching assistants that work there! As you say elsewhere, children only get one chance of a decent education. Not if they come to Knockhall! PETER I have amended my reference to Knockhall above, to reflect this, as it is not the only concern I have received.

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