Supporting Families
Sunday, 04 July 2004 07:57

Kent Unplaced Pupils by Area: Archive - Kent on Sunday July 2004

My first ever article for Kent on Sunday, published July 2004, at a time when Kent Education was managed chaotically. See recent article on closure of KOS). Reproduced here in December 2017. 

The current chaos in the Kent secondary school transfer procedure is further underlined by enormous variations in the number of children with no school of their choice, district by district across Kent. I have been passed the following figures which will alarm many parents about their chances of securing a place in one of their three preferred schools.  

While in Ashford there are just 32 children who have been offered no school of their choice, in Thanet the number leaps to 161, and is higher yet in Maidstone and Malling at an enormous 249.  Other figures are: Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells/Sevenoaks – 173; Canterbury/Herne Bay/Whitstable – 123; Faversham/Sittingbourne – 110; Gravesham – 96; Folkestone/Shepway – 68; Dover/Deal/Sandwich – 52. Dartford is a special case with 267, as the Leigh City Technology College refuses to co-operate with KCC on secondary transfer, and many of those will have been offered places at re-allocation last week.

Certainly I have been shocked by the number of parents who have contacted me for advice in the Thanet and Maidstone areas, and these figures underline those concerns. In Thanet, I suspect that the overwhelming number of that 161 have been offered places at the deeply unpopular and failing Ramsgate School, which is likely to be closed and re-opened after major investment. In Maidstone, there are currently three schools which many parents are trying to avoid, one more than in previous years, the new one attracting most adverse comment.

Town by town, circumstances are different, the variation in numbers generally reflecting the level of unhappiness with unpopular or failing schools in the vicinity. A few families have leapt out of the abyss under reallocation, the first round taking place last week. This saw 234 pupils with no place offered a school on their list, 101 of these vacancies being created by pupils offered a school further up their list, most of the rest being in the Dartford area. However, many of the families with no school on their list did not apply for re-allocation, and so are unlikely to secure a place, as up to 90% of oversubscription appeals are doomed to failure, according to last year’s figures.

Some parents have turned down their allocated school as being completely unacceptable, and face their child not attending school in September. On the other hand, in East Kent, in particular, Foundation grammar schools are already holding appeals, and some of the 350 empty grammar school places are being filled, freeing up places in other acceptable schools, which will be reallocated at the end of April. County school appeals are likely to stretch into July again, and it is already apparent that the prophesied movement of some pupils at the start of the new school year in September will take place. Whilst the Chief Schools Adjudicator comments that he did not expect problems in Kent following his decisions in October, he should visit the county now and see the misery he has caused to so many families.    

Last modified on Friday, 08 December 2017 18:25

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