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Sunday, 19 May 2019 18:38

Oversubscription and Vacancies in Kent Primary Schools, 2019


There are 18% vacancies across Thanet so few pressure points and no schools highly oversubscribed. Just 26 LAAs for 1481 pupils, a remarkably low figure. Most popular are: Palm Bay, Margate, 24 first choices rejected, followed by: Newington Community, Ramsgate (22) and Cliftonville (19) – these being the two Thanet primaries with Outstanding Ofsteds; Ramsgate Holy Trinity CofE (16); and St George’s CofE, Broadstairs (primary section with 15 first choices oversubscribed). 13 schools with vacancies: Dame Janet and Ellington Infants with 60% empty spaces each, but both with Good Ofsted; Drapers Mills 53% (along with Dame Janet run by TKAT and underperformed for several years before both eventually achieving Good); Northdown, Margate 47% also run by TKAT, but Requires Improvement; Garlinge,  39%, St Gregory’s Catholic 38% and Newlands 25% (TKAT) and very low KS2 outcomes – all three Ofsted Good and based in Margate. Whatever TKAT is doing to improve standards it doesn’t appear to ride well with parents.
The new Bishop Chavasse Free school with its 60 places, opened in 2018, continues to keep the Tonbridge situation dramatically changed from 2017, when there were no vacant places in town on allocation in April. Although numbers have risen this year, there are still 12% vacancies overall.

The only school seriously oversubscribed is Slade, normally Tonbridge’s most popular school (and most oversubscribed in Kent in 2017), turning away 31 first choices, followed by Sussex Road with 8. Half of the town’s 14 schools have vacancies, most as usual in the north of the town at Longmead Community (53% vacancies) and Cage Green (38%), both of which Require Improvement according to their latest Ofsted inspection. Next is Royal Rise with 33% whose most recent Ofsted placed it in Special Measures before it was academised in 2017 under the Cygnus Trust, which also has two schools in Dartford.  

Tunbridge Wells
Continues to be tight, with just five of the 20 schools having vacancies, most of the 50 empty places being concentrated on three schools. After several years having lost its top place, Claremont is once again the most oversubscribed school, turning away 31 first choices. It is followed by: Skinners Kent Primary Academy in its second year of operation with 27; St Peter’s CofE with 11 and Wells Free with 10. Langton Green traditionally also one of the most popular schools, had just three first choice families disappointed this year (is it relevant that the Headteacher has spent considerable time also running the scandal ridden Tunbury School on the Medway border. The small Speldhurst CofE expanded its 20 places by 10 to meet demand.

Temple Grove, usually the least popular school in the town, filled its 30 places this year thanks to 11 LAAs, although many of these won’t take them up as private education draws a number of children out of the system.  This left Rusthall St Paul’s with 50% vacancies, followed by St Mark’s CofE with 30%, propped up by eight LAAs.

Junior Schools
There are 26 Junior schools, most linked with Infant schools offering a straightforward follow on system, the infants having priority for admission.

As a result, there are only three schools significantly oversubscribed, headed up by Whitstable & Seasalter Endowed CofE, as some families at Whitstable Juniors  have attempt to switch for some years to a school with an Outstanding Ofsted and, normally very high KS2 results but not for 2018! But few will have been successful as Whitstable Juniors remains full in Year Three each September. St James’ CofE Junior in Tunbridge Wells had six unsuccessful first choices.

Five schools have 20% or more vacancies which may depend on other factors than their own reputation such as the number coming through from the linked Infant school, or other opportunities in the area. For example Sandwich Junior School had 48% vacancies, making 31 offers, not surprising with the feed in current Year Two at the Infant school having just 34 places filled for a PAN of 56. In Thanet, Christ Church CofE Juniors has 30% vacancies, but no specific linked Infant school, and St Laurence in Thanet CofE Juniors has 22%, linked to Ellington Infant which is usually undersubscribed.  Ditton CofE Junior is also 22% undersubscribed but having attracted 50 of the 52 children from Year Two in the Infant school.

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Last modified on Friday, 29 January 2021 22:52


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