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Monday, 15 May 2017 09:38

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


The big story here is not of individual schools but of the sheer unpopularity of the schools run by the Kemnal Academy Trust (TKAT) as described below. What are they doing?

Last year, there were just two schools out of 13 in the Margate of the district with vacancies, for 2017 there are six. Drapers Mills Primary Academy, Margate, is run by TKAT, with a difficult past and now out of Special Measures, has 49 of its 90 places empty, followed by Salmestone, also in Margate and run by TKAT, 18 out of 60. Birchington CofE has 17 out of 90. Cliftonville still has eight vacancies, in spite of its Outstanding Ofsted last November, up from RI, and the 11 LAACs allocated to the school, over half of the 20 allocations in total.

The most oversubscribed school is Holy Trinity and St John’s CofE with 22, and Palm Bay, Cliftonville, with 21. Bromstone Primary, habitually undersubscribed in recent years, has now become sought after under a new headteacher and turned away 11 first choices. The new primary section of St George's CofE Foundation School, Broadstairs, which offers priority for admission to the secondary part, the most oversubscribed non-selective school in Kent is unsurprisingly proving very popular, being 10 places oversubscribed. 

At the Ramsgate end, there are four heavily oversubscribed schools headed by St Mildred's Infants, turning away 34 first choices. It is followed by Callis Grange Infants and St Ethelbert's Catholic with 23,and Priory Infants, 22, as many parents try and avoid the only four schools with vacancies which, as a result have 127 empty spaces between them. Highest is Ramsgate Arts Primary School, a new Free School, with 70%, or 42 of its 60 places empty. The school is clearly suffering like so many other new schools, through having no premises of its own at present, currently staying on the site of its sponsor school, Chilton Primary. Next comes Dame Janet Primary Academy, yet another TKAT school, with 44 of its 90 places empty. It is followed at a distance by Ellington Infants, 28 out of 90, and Minster CofE, 13 out of 60. Newlands Primary, another TKAT school, manages to fill its 60 places by virtue of 21 LAACS out of a total of 30 in the District.

 TONBRIDGEUpdated with the new Bishop Chavasse Free School 
Apart from one vacancy at rural East Peckham Primary, every one of the 13 Tonbridge primary schools were full after April allocations, although there will inevitably be some movement, especially with the new Bishop Chavasse Free School now creating a further 60 places. One in twelve of all children are LAACs; they have been allocated to schools for which they did not apply, the highest proportion in Kent.  16 of these have been offered Cage Green; 14 to Long Mead Community Primary. For the 2016 intake, pressure had not eased by January 2017, according to the census, with just 8 vacancies spread across the District, probably temporary as new arrivals in the town will soon fill them up.

A new Free primary school, Bishop Chavasse Academy was due to open in September 2016 but was delayed because of problems at the Regional Schools Commissioners. The school has recently signed its Funding Agreement, and Planning Approval has been granted for temporary buildings, so the school will now open in September 2017. It has offered 60 places outside the norm for new Free Schools,  which will mainly come from local children with places allocated elsewhere. As a consequence there should now be considerable flexibility in the system. 

Slade Primary is the most oversubscribed primary school in Kent before the new  Free School offered places, turning away 43 first choices, found Outstanding by Ofsted in 2011. Next come Sussex Road, with 26, and St Margaret Clitherow Catholic, with 11.

Even St Stephen’s Primary, placed in Special Measures by Ofsted earlier this year, is full, albeit with seven LAACs.

There is also intense pressure in Tunbridge Wells, with just Temple Grove Academy again being the only school with vacancies – 24 of its 60 places being unfilled. Most oversubscribed is Langton Green, turning away 29 first choices, followed by Claremont with 24. Then comes Bishops Down with 17, The Wells Free School with 14, and Skinners Kent Academy turning away 13 disappointed first choices. The Wells and SKA are probably the most successful of the new schools opened in recent years in attracting pupils.

The town has the second highest proportion of LAACs, children with no school of their choice, in Kent, at 7%, 18 being offered St Matthew’s High Brooms CofE, 17 St Mark’s CofE, and 8 allocated to St Barnabas’ CofE.

There are 26 Junior schools, most linked to named Infant schools and offering priority to pupils transferring across. Half of these have vacancies, most at Sandwich Juniors with 16 empty spaces. A previously very popular Junior school, Roseacre in Maidstone has three vacancies this year.  

Most oversubscribed is Upton Juniors, Ofsted Outstanding, turning away 18 first choices, and Christ Church CofE Juniors, with 14, both in Thanet, but with no specific linked Infant school, perhaps reflecting the unhappiness some families have with alternative all-through primary schools in the District. There are three Junior schools seven places oversubscribed: Minterne Community, Sittingbourne; St James’ CofE, Tunbridge Wells; and Whitstable & Seasalter Endowed CofE.  









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Last modified on Friday, 16 April 2021 06:28


  • 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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