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Wednesday, 18 April 2012 21:17

Primary School Admissions, 2012 More on pressures on places

Following a day of media coverage on Primary School pressures (see article below and Kent on Sunday article) when I gave interviews on both  Radio Kent and BBC SE, KCC  responded on both channels claiming the following (all of which I dispute):

1) KCC has put in an extra 120 places in Tunbridge Wells reception classes to solve any problems. I have once again looked at official KCC figures and can see the following: Langton Green Primary School, 10 places TAKEN AWAY from 2011 numbers; St James CofE Infants School 20 places TAKEN AWAY from 2011 numbers (at a parents meeting the school stated that they were happy to offer 90 places in total, but KCC pegged them back to 70 as "there were spaces in other schools"); 10 additional places in St Matthews High Brooms CofE  (although these were actually offered outside the official structure in 2011 and so don't count). So the actual figures is a reduction of 30 places,  or 20 if one wants to be generous about the St Matthew's situation. I therefore ask KCC where the 120 additional places are to be found? ...............

2) KCC claimed I was wrong in my statement that there were no vacant spaces in placements in Maidstone town schools. I have checked KCC's official figures and repeat the statement. In which schools do KCC claim their figures show spaces? Further KCC claims that the new Tiger Free School  on the edge of Maidstone will admit 73 new pupils taking these from local schools. The 73 children will probably all be holding a second place in a Kent maintained school, as the Tiger School is not part of the Kent  admissions scheme. However, it is disappointing that KCC thinks none of these parents will eventually choose one of its schools, and I would be very surprised if this was the case. Further, being on the edge of town, some of those children will be in the rural area outside and so not in my calculations. Further, it is the wrong end of town from all the pressure points and so will not be of help to most of the families affected. I have looked at this issue before

3) KCC claims that pupil numbers have peaked in some areas (this claim was also made last year). I am prepared to concede this is probably the case, but not in areas such as Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Sevenoaks some of the greatest problem districts. Parents have reported to me that  birth rates in the first two at least are up, and for all three districts, there is considerable new housing being built. Surely KCC's planning takes these two factors into account. I am aware that the relevant numbers in Dover, Deal and Sandwich are falling, but these will not help the pressing issues. I therefore ask KCC in which districts are pupil numbers peaking? 

4) KCC claims there is only a small increase in the number of children who have been allocated places at schools they haven't applied for and this is mainly  a problem with first places not being offered. KCC's official figures show an increase from 564 to 818 in two years who have been offered none of their schools, a worrying rise of 45%. Does KCC consider that 45% is a small proportion or number.

5) KCC considers there is no failure of planning  this year. No comment!

On the BBC website I am quoted as saying "I think parental choice has lost its meaning for many parents because of failure to provide sufficient places in good schools". That is partially correct. The failure is to provide places in schools.  


Last modified on Wednesday, 03 January 2018 12:34

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