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Displaying items by tag: Primary Admissions - Kent Independent Education Advice
Monday, 15 September 2014 00:00

Pressures on Primary Places in Kent and Medway

You will find an expanded version of this item in an article I wrote for Kent on Sunday published 21st September 2014

 

There has been much comment in the national media on the growing shortage of primary school places and Kent is no exception. In May I wrote articles on primary allocations in Kent and Medway, identifying some of the pressure areas as: Sevenoaks, Gravesham, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells, Thanet, Maidstone and Tonbridge in Kent; and much of Medway, especially Chatham, Rainham and Rochester.

I am now receiving concerned enquiries almost daily from families who have moved into or are planning to move into the area and are finding no suitable school, or in some cases no school at all being offered. Others have been allocated schools they didn’t apply to and are now finding out the problems. These are exemplified by an email circulated to primary school headteachers in Gravesham at the beginning of September by the Local Authority desperately seeking places for 23 children in the Borough (9 in Dartford) in Years 1,2 and 3 without a place.

In 2012 KCC drew up a Commissioning Plan which developed a strategy for creating the 10000 new places needed by 2016. This is already creaking at the seams and the overarching principles set down to guide it appear a distant memory.

I am not sure what, if any, strategy is being followed by Medway Council.....

Published in News and Comments

On primary school allocation day in April, 796 Kent children were allocated to schools they had not applied to, a great shock for many parents as the number is well up on last year’s 661. 

This article looks at the popularity of individual schools and problems of capacity around the county this year.

Most popular school in Kent is once again Riverhead Infants in Sevenoaks, turning away 69 first choices, followed by St John’s Catholic Primary in Gravesham (50). Next come: Slade Primary, Tonbridge (47); with West Hill Primary, Dartford, Madginford Park Infants, Maidstone and Priory Infants, Ramsgate  all turning away 42 disappointed first choices. Minster in Sheppey (41), St John’s CofE, Tunbridge Wells  (38) and St Joseph’s Catholic, Northfleet (36) bring the total up to 9, tenth place being shared by: Brent, Dartford; Palm Bay, Margate; St Crispins’ Community Infant,  Westgate on Sea and St James CofE Infants, Tunbridge Wells, all with 35 disappointed first choices.  

Biggest problem area is probably Gravesham ....

Published in Newspaper Articles

I now have further information on Primary school allocations to individual schools, to expand on my previous article on allocation day, 16th April 2014.

Riverhead 2

Most popular primary school in Kent is once again Riverhead Infants School  in Sevenoaks, turning away 69 first choices, followed by St John’s Catholic Primary in Gravesham (50), reflecting the very difficult pressures in the Borough.

St Johns Gravesend

Next come: Slade Primary in Tonbridge (47); West Hill Primary in Dartford, Madginford Park Infants in Maidstone and Priory Infants in Ramsgate  all turning away 42 disappointed first choices. Minster in Sheppey (41), St John’s CofE in Tunbridge Wells  (38). St Joseph’s Catholic in Northfleet, last year's most oversubscribed school (36) brings the total up to 9, with tenth place being shared by: Brent in Dartford; Palm Bay in Margate; St Crispins’ Community Infant,  Westgate on Sea, Thanet and St James CofE VA Infants in Tunbridge Wells, all with 35 disappointed first choices.  

You will find a list of last year’s most oversubscribed schools here. Below, you will find a brief analysis of the most pressured districts: Sevenoaks, Gravesham, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells, Thanet, Maidstone and Tonbridge.......

Published in News and Comments
Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00

Medway Primary School Allocations 2014

Updated 2 May 2014, incorporating data from item above

Medway Council appears 'delighted' with the continued fall in the percentage of children being offered their first choice Medway school, more than 2% down on 2013, and more than 6% down on three years ago. Unfortunately, the glowing and very positive Council Press Release is once again vague on the figures, the full release being produced below. Up until 2011, full percentages and comparisons with previous years were produced but, given the annual decline ever since, the Council appears to have made a policy decision to try and hide the reality of the problem. The portfolio holder for Children's Services is quoted as being"delighted to see so many families in Medway have been offered a place at one of their named schools and such a high number at their first choice school". 

More worrying for too many parents is the inexorable rise in the number of children offered none of their choices and being allocated places by the Local Authority.

A major reason for the fall in first choices being offered is not, as often stated in the media, that parents are chasing the best schools, but rather they are trying any way to avoid those with the worst reputations, as explained in my more detailed analysis above. With the OFSTED outcomes of Medway primary schools continuing to plummet this is becoming more and more difficult year on year......

Published in News and Comments
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:00

Kent Primary School Allocations April 2014

Kent and Medway primary school parents have now received details of Reception Class allocations, or where appropriate those for Junior Schools,  together with details of how to apply to go on a waiting list or to appeal. The parallel article for Medway parents is immediately below this one. 

The headline figures are that: 

  • The number of children allocated places is up by 3.6% over 2013 to 17,097.
  • The proportion  of children offered a school named on their application form, at 95.34% is the second highest in the past four years and beyond. 
  • The number of children offered their first school, at 14516 is the highest ever, but the proportion has fallen slightly to 84.90%
  • The number of disappointed children offered no school of their choice has risen to 796, but is a lower proportion of the total than in 2012 or 2011. ..... 

Reports on the national scene have been very grim in places, and Kent appears to be far better placed than many. In spite of the twin repeated observations on this website that (a) I do not give advice to families living outside Kent and Medway (also excluding London Boroughs that were part of Kent pre-1965) and (b) very few Primary Appeals can be successful because of Infant Class legislation (see below), I have had enquiries from desperate families across the country in: Bexley, Birmingham, Brighton, Bromley, Cornwall, Hertfordshire and Lancashire, but sadly am unable to assist.  

Also below, I reproduce the statistics relating to appeal outcomes in Kent and Medway last year. Headline is that where Infant Class Legislation applies, just 18 out of 546 appeals were successful, although 132 families dropped out of the process before the appeals was heard, many after seeing the appeal paperwork.  

Early problems are emerging at Tunbridge Wells, where the 23 extra places at the Wells Free School don't even compensate for last year's reduction of 30 at Claremont Primary (cut off distance just 160 yards), and the problems with Bishops Down reducing from an intake of 60 to one of 30, a decision of governors, but a situation badly handled by KCC. With 37 siblings applying, seven of these have not been offered places. I will have the full picture when I see the relevant data, from about the middle of May. A comment below refers to one parent's problem. 

Published in News and Comments

I now have details of the popularity of individual primary schools in Kent & Medway for entry in September, headlines described below. This article is about Kent placements; a Medway one will follow as time permits.

:

st josephs northfleet 3

Most oversubscribed primary school (above) is an OFSTED Outstanding Catholic school in North Kent

Kent County Council is to be congratulated on taking timely action in expanding a number of primary schools in areas of pressure, as distinct from trying the late inadequate fixes of the last two years.  653 additional places have been added, although this is partially balanced by the removal of 269 places from other schools, in most cases where there are surplus places. As a result, .........

Published in News Archive

Parents of Kent primary aged children looking to enter school in September, or transfer from Infant to Junior schools  have now received a letter informing them of the allocated school. All families who have not been offered their first choice school have also been told how to apply for waiting lists or submit an appeal.

The figures below show the outcome of a major planning operation by KCC following last year's primary school places crisis, producing the best figures for three years.At the time of writing, I am not aware of any local difficulties. 

 The headline is: the highest number and proportion of children being offered their first choice for three years; and the lowest number and proportion being allocated a place by Kent County Council after being offered no school of their choice - a fall of 20% over 2012. These very good figures are in spite of a steady rise in the number of primary aged children coming through the system. However there are still 661 children without a school of their choice. Kent and Medway parents who wish to seek my advice may like to consider using my Telephone Consultation to discuss options, so feel free to send me details of your situation  and I will let you know if I have practical advice to offer. You will see from my Primary Appeals Information page, that sadly, for most schools chances of success at appeal are very unlikely.

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:58

What a media day

Every now and then I have a media storm, but never one like the last two days (a little licence in the title). It began on Wednesday morning when I was invited to comment on Radio Kent about claims by the headteacher of Bromstone Primary School in Thanet that some headteachers were going out of their way to discourage children with a poor reputation and some with Special Education Needs  from applying to their schools. Although I often disagree with him, he is absolutely right in this case. I have talked with parents of children with SEN who have visited schools and been told they can't cope and to go the school up the road "which is good for such children".  A good way of keeping the SEN budget down! At primary level the HT talked of primary schools that identified difficult children through the nursery and set out to put them off. Again, I have come across parents reporting such experiences. Unprofessional schools, but looking out for one's league table  and OFSTED performance, together with a more easily earned reputation for good discipline . Next, ...

Published in Peter's Blog
Saturday, 13 October 2012 13:50

Bishops Down Primary - the story continues

I have previously covered the developing story of Bishops Down Primary below.  That episode concluded with  a Determination from the Schools Adjudicator ruling that KCC needed to hold the Planned Admission Number (PAN) at 60, although KCC was trying to reduce it to 30 on the grounds that, in spite of an earlier survey identifying that the school was able to admit 60 children every year, a fresh report had concluded this was impossible. To continue:........

Published in News Archive

LATEST (13/7): Kent County Council had its debate on the e-petition submitted by Bearsted parents on Thursday. The debate can be found in full at: http://www.kent.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/82135, 3 hours and five minutes into the meeting. There was unanimous praise for the leaders of the campaign  (unique in my experience), although there was much discussion on county wide issues. KCC takes some pride in its place forecasting, although I would challenge that confidence, as we continue to see too many  predictable crises in provision. Three important outcomes. The decision by the governors of St John's to expand to two forms of entry in September 2013, and to provide an additional Year One class for those children currently disappointed, will need to go out for consultation, and Department for Education approval, although there is a presumption in the School Admissions Code of Practice that such expansion will be approved. There will not be additional provision at St John's during the course of the academic year 2012-2013, so those children who have lost out this time round, will have to wait until September 2013, to amply to transfer into Year One. The problem for 2012 entry has been exacerbated by the large number of siblings, and this ought to be a factor tracked in the future. 

Ther have been similar problems in the Kings Hill area of West Malling, and it appears this campagin has inspired parents there to set off on a similar trail. You will find a facebook page at: http://workingpartykingshill.blogspot.co.uk/

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Kent County Council has issued the following press release: "Primary school expansion in Grove Green brings welcome news to local parents......

Published in News Archive
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