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Friday, 20 March 2020 06:15

Oversubscription & Vacancies Kent Non-Selective Secondary Schools 2020

Index

You will find data on allocations, appeals and academic performance, for each school in the Individual Schools Section of this website. Currently, the large data bank is up to date, although commentary is lagging behind in a few cases where indicated (update in progress, or on request).
 
Dover, Deal and Sandwich
I exclude Duke of York’s Royal Military School in Dover from all Kent statistics, as it is a boarding school with a core military family intake. It has been completely rebuilt at a cost of over £24 million for an intake of 104 places, Most of its admissions do not use the Kent admissions scheme but join the school later. As a result it starts from a low base in Year Seven, over half of whom come from outside Kent (13 out of 22 for 2020) although numbers build subsequently. Six out of 26 first preferences were turned down, probably children from non-military families considered ‘not suitable for boarding’. Had a highly controversial history some years, ago, but a change of leadership appears to have settled this down. As I was writing this article I received the enclosed Testimonial from a parent at the school, which should be read alongside the profile in the Individual Schools section. 

Omitting DOYRMS, The District has 7% vacancies, second highest in Kent, all 63 being at Astor College, its popularity having slumped and also offering all Dover’s 34 LAAs. The school's one saving grace is picking up 12 pupils last year between allocation and the October census, some of whom may be refugees, others refugees from Folkestone Academy. Every other school is oversubscribed. St Edmund's Catholic School, last year full for the first time in many years, has continued to grow in strength. The school has the fifth highest increase in first choices in the county, up by 44. It has turned first choices away for the first time and becoming the most oversubscribed school in the District with 31 families disappointed.  Dover Christ Church Academy has admitted another 30 pupils increasing its PAN to 180 for the first time and is close behind St Edmund's, having seen its number of first choices increase by 40. Goodwin Academy is also full for the first time in many years, after the scandal of SchoolsCompany, having been taken over by Thinking Schools Academy Trust. 

Folkestone and Hythe
The two Folkestone non-selective schools, Folkestone Academy (FA) and the new Turner Free School, are both run by the appalling Turner Schools academy trust, so children have no local alternative. This website search engine will lead you to multiple other articles. The decision to expand Turner Free School by 60 places to 180 in 2019 has hit FA badly, with nearly a third of its places empty for the second year, a total of 86, the highest of any school in Kent. This is in spite of having all the District’s 23 LAAs placed at the school. One can only speculate why Turner Schools decided in yet another bizarre decision, to badly undermine its own FA by expanding TFS. The article here is a good example of the fantasy world occupied by Turner Schools. 

Brockhill Park in Hythe is the most oversubscribed school in the District, disappointing 54 first choice families, while the rural Marsh Academy continues to recruit well and for the first time has turned away first choices, seven in number. It is likely that some families from the Marsh, drawn to Brockhill in the past, can no longer access it, because of the flow from Folkestone.  

Gravesham
Three of the six schools are heavily oversubscribed, all featuring in the list of most popular schools in Kent for the second year running. These are led this year by the all through Saint George’s CofE, turning away 83 first choices. The school has also taken an additional form of entry, bringing it back to an intake of 210 as in 2018 as its new building project takes place. Next comes Meopham with 76 first choices turned down, followed by St John’s Catholic with 59, picking up 17 Catholic pupils from Medway turning away from the unpopular St John Fisher Catholic in Chatham. Two schools going the other way are Thamesview, amongst the lowest GCSE performers this year, presumably with families recognising a decline, and absorbing 40 of Gravesham’s 59 LAAs still leaving two vacancies and Northfleet Technology College which has been declining in popularity and performance for some years, absorbing the other 19 LAAs, also with 19 vacancies. 

Last modified on Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:55

8 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 03 April 2020 05:14 posted by Stargazer

    KCC is mad not to plan for future hosing developments. Covid-19 or not, the houses are coming.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 28 March 2020 04:42 posted by Emily W.

    Peter, We applied for Trinity as our first choice, Hillview Girls second, and were offered Knole third. Yet you report 100 first choices turned down at Knole with popularity soaring, and 56 at Trinity with popularity falling. What is going on? PETER: All in order I am afraid. The system is complicated but logical. It first of all produces a list for each school in order for all those who have expressed a preference. Then it offers you a place at your highest preference school for which you are eligible. Then takes you out of any lower preferences and repeats the exercise to see anyone now gets a higher preference. It keeps doing this until it has (is) exhausted all the possibilities. You had a stronger case at Knole than Trinity, which only gives fewer than 90 'Open Places' to those who live nearest without a faith or other priority, so the distance cut off will be close. Knole has increased massively in popularity since the previous head left, but still offers nearly all of its 255 places on distance grounds which go out further, and you had a better claim here. Still complicated I know, but as fair as can be.

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 23:24 posted by Dover Girl

    What has happened in Dover? You report two schools oversubscribed, when last year there were none. We didn't get into St Edmund's or Christ Church. We are not Catholic but its the best school. We have been given Astor. PETER: Where they came from I am not sure, but there are an extra 84 children in the three Dover schools. Some may have come up from Folkestone, some from towards Deal as Goodwin Academy is also oversubscribed for the first time, and there is enormous pressure in Canterbury schools. I suspect you stand a good chance on appeal or off the waiting list at Dover Christ Church at least, but go for both.

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 16:17 posted by Despairing Thanet Parent

    We are Thanet parents whose daughter has been offered Hartsdown after being rejected from all our four choices. We are in despair. Home Education is all wrong for us and we haven't got the background anyway. We can't afford private. Please give us some good advice. PETER: Sadly, I am afraid have little for you or any others of the 100+ families in the same situation. It is trite to say you will have to put up with it and hope the school is improving - I hear various claims that things are changing. What I think is important is that your daughter is given some encouragement about the school by you somehow.
    I just wish there was something else I could say.

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 12:40 posted by MSST parent in waiting

    Are you suggesting that Maidstone Schol of Science and Technology may not open in September. PETER: The construction industry is closing down for the time being. There must be a risk unless the project is past the critical date. I have merely asked the question and am waiting for a reassuring reply

  • Comment Link Friday, 27 March 2020 12:36 posted by Seeker after Knowledge

    So which is the worst Academy Trust in Kent, Turner Schools or Brook Learning Trust?
    PETER: There were worse - Lilac Sky and SchoolsCompany, both corrupt, but both closed down by government. These are both small Trusts: Brook - three secondary schools; Turner - two secondary and two primary. There have been others, TKAT appears to have got its act together, but nothing springs to mind. I would go for Turner Schools on the scale of its misrepresentations and false claims about its awful performance.

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