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Displaying items by tag: Primary Admissions

Friday, 15 June 2012 00:00

Primary School Places in Chatham

Medway Council is proposing a new three form entry primary school on the site of the old Chatham South secondary school, after the birth rate in Chatham shows a 21% increase since 2005, coupled with increasing migration into the area probably as a result of cheaper housing costs. This follows the proposal to close two primary schools in Chatham just two yeas ago because of falling numbers! One of those schools, Ridge Meadow, did in fact close but the other, St John's Infant School, was saved after a decision by the Schools Adjudicator overruled Medway Council's proposal. A further proposed closure of St Peter's Infant School in Rochester was dropped. For 2012 entry, St John's is full, St Peter's has just two empty spaces, and there are just 17 places vacant in the whole of Chatham, all at Luton Infants School. 

This all shows that school place forecasting is a difficult science, and Medway Council acknowledges it can do better...

Published in News Archive

Pressure continues to build over the shortage of reception class places in Bearsted, centred on Madginford Park Infants School, Thurnham CofE Infants School and St John's Primary School. At the recent meeting of Bearsted Parish Council,  Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, listened to the concerns of many local parents whose children have no local school to go to, and has promised to do what he can to resolve the problem. One new issue is that at present, 43 of the 80 plus children without a school of their choice have been allocated places at  St Paul's Infant School over two miles away. KCC is responsible for providing transport for those unable to make other arrangements, likely to be a minibus, driver as the only adult present, no seat belts, cost estimated at .......

Published in News Archive

On the surface, Kent primary school infant class placements, which took place at the end of March look well with a healthy 95% of children in Kent being offered one of their three choices, similar to last year. However, looking beneath the surface, a much more worrying picture emerges because of increased numbers in some areas as the number of children being allocated a school they hadn’t chosen has risen from 564 to 818 in two years, a frightening rise of 45%.

Analysis of the figures shows a sharp contrast between most of West Kent and most of East Kent and between urban and rural areas. Maidstone town is the most difficult area, with over 100 children allocated to schools they did not apply for and NO places free in any school in the town. Other problem areas include Tunbridge Wells with just 16 places left free out of the 920 available, and 75 children having none of their choices. 15 of those 16 free places are in Pembury School (just outside the town), and only exist as its capacity was expanded by 30 at short notice last year, to cater for the difficulties. Sevenoaks has 94 children allocated, 7 places left free; urban Dartford, 71 children allocated and 7 places left free;  the Ramsgate area of Thanet, 65 children allocated, 8 places free, all in Bromstone Primary school in Broadstairs; Folkestone, 43 children allocated, 6 left free; and the area around Faversham with 37 children allocated.

Kent County Council, in a confidential analysis of issues produced in 2009, identified major problems for 2011 entry in Dartford, Gravesham, Thanet and Tunbridge Wells, some of these other issues being masked by rural parts of the districts having spare capacity. Sadly, little was done to alleviate the problems at a time when finances were easier. What is clear is that although Kent’s Primary Strategy of 2006 has a policy that there should be between 5-7% surplus capacity in an area, it has not planned to meet this policy. Where additional places have been added, too often these are last minute decisions and often in inappropriate schools. What we are seeing is an unwritten change of policy from trying to meet parental preferences, to a minimalist offering to children of a school somewhere, no matter how suitable.   

Riverhead Infant School in Sevenoaks has soared to the top of the oversubscription table, turning away 54 first choices with the neighbouring Sevenoaks Primary School turning away 44 children, in fourth place. In between come Madginford Park in Maidstone, and Priory Infants, Ramsgate. In fifth place comes St James CofE VA Infant School, in Tunbridge Wells, then: Slade Primary, Tonbridge; Sandgate Primary, Folkestone; West Hill Primary, Dartford; St John's Catholic Primaryl, Gravesend; Joyden's Wood Infants, Dartford; St Peter's Methodist, Canterbury; Holy Trinity & St John's CofE Primary, Margate; St John's CofE Primary, Tunbridge Wells; St Stephen's Infant, Canterbury; Ethelbert Road Primary, Faversham; and St Mildred's Infants, Broadstairs. All these schools turned away 30 or more first choices.

At the other end of the table, 14 schools, nearly all in East Kent, have over half their places left empty. Three of these have all admitted fewer than 50% of their capacity for each of the last three years. How on earth can they remain viable? However, the political controversy over closing such schools is always intense, even if this would release resources to provide extra provision in places of greatest need. Further information on all the key pressure points at

Published in Newspaper Articles

I now have detailed information on Kent and Medway primary school admission offers for September 2012. On the surface, all looks well with a healthy 95% of children in Kent being offered one of their three choices, similar to last year. However, with rising rolls the number of children being allocated a school they hadn’t chosen has risen from 564 to 818 in two years, a worrying rise of 45%.

You will find more general information in a separate article below.  I have started to provide more detailed information on difficult areas, via the links below. 

Analysis of the figures shows a sharp contrast between most of West Kent and most of East Kent and between urban and rural areas. Maidstone town is the most difficult area, with over 100 children allocated to schools they did not apply for (you will find an earlier article on part of the problem here) and NO places free in any school in the town. Other problem areas include:........

Published in News Archive
Monday, 04 April 2011 00:00

Infant Class Legislation


The previous Labour government honoured an election pledge to reduce all Infant classes to 30 children by introducing what is called Infant Class Legislation that banned any class of over 30, except in certain very specific circumstances. Although the most recent Codes of Practice removed the sanctions for schools to keep to this legal requirement, it is rare that they are broken except in certain very specific circumstances.  The rules are laid down in the School Admissions Code (SAC) and the School Admission Appeals Code (SAAC),  both of which carry the force of law. The rules also apply to Academies.

Parents often puzzle over why they are allowed to appeal and informed of their rights so to do, when they actually stand no chance of success. Sadly, that is the way it is. 

You will find a recent news item on this subject here

The rules for Admissions.

Neither the school nor the Local Authority can offer more places than allowed by the Planned Admission Number, which you will find in the school or Local Authority Prospectus, except in very limited circumstances. SAC states:

2.61    The law does not require a child to start school until the start of the term following their fifth birthday. The date compulsory school age is reached is determined by dates set by the Secretary of State for the autumn, spring and summer terms. These are 31 August, 31 December and 31 March.

2.62   Infant classes (i.e. those where the majority of children will reach the age of 5, 6, or 7 during the school year) must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher. While admission can be refused on normal prejudice grounds once an admission number of lower than 30 (or multiples of 30) has been reached, admission must be refused on “infant class-size prejudice” grounds where the published admission number allows for classes of 30, and the school would have to take ‘qualifying’ measures to keep to the statutory class size limit if more children were admitted, e.g. employ another teacher.

2.63   The class size legislation makes allowance for the entry of an additional child in very limited circumstances where not to admit the child would be prejudicial to his or her interests (‘excepted pupils’). However, every effort must be made to keep over large classes to a minimum. These circumstances are where:

a)  children with statements of special educational needs are admitted to the school outside the normal admissions round;

b)  children move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is no other available school within reasonable distance (admission authorities must check with local authorities before determining that a child falls into this category);

c)  children admitted, after initial allocation of places on the local offer date, because the person responsible for making the original decision recognises that an error was made in implementing the school’s admission arrangements and that a place ought to have been offered;

d)  children in care admitted outside the normal admissions round;

e)  children admitted where an independent appeal panel upholds an appeal on the grounds that the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented, and/or the admission authority’s decision to refuse a place was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case;

f)  children are registered pupils at special schools and by arrangement with another school which is not a special school, receive part of their education at that other school;

g)  children with special education needs who are registered pupils at a school which is not a special school and are normally educated in a special educational needs unit attached to that school, and attend, an infant class in the school (i.e. not in the unit), where this has been deemed as beneficial to the child.

2.64   Except in the case of f) and g), the child will remain an exception for any time they spend in an infant class at the mainstream school or outside the special educational needs unit. In all other circumstances the child will only remain an exception for the remainder of the school year in which they were admitted. Measures must be taken for the following year to ensure that the class falls within the infant class size limit.

The Rules for Appeals

Here SAAC states:

3.19  Where a child has been refused admission to a school on infant class size prejudice grounds, an appeal panel can only offer a place to a child where it is satisfied that either

a)      the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented;

b)      the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had not been contrary to mandatory provisions in the School Admissions Code and the SSFA 1998; and/or

c)      the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

The third of these cases is usually the one which parents seek to challenge and although it appears reasonably mild, it actually states that the appeal can only be upheld if the admission authority (school or Local Authority) could have gone outside the rules for admission (oversubscription criteria) for the child in question. This is exceedingly rare and relates back to the rules for admission. Many parents seek to challenge the rules themselves, on the grounds that they have a very powerful case for being admitted to that school and not the one they have been allocated and this should have taken priority over the rules, but this is not a valid argument.

The Code wants to leave Appeal Panel members in no doubt as to what 3.19 (b) means and goes on to clarify:

3.25  In order for a panel to determine that an admission authority’s decision to refuse admission was unreasonable, it will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit the particular child was “perverse in the light of the admission arrangements" i.e. it was “beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker” or “a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it

Infant Class legislation does not apply only when there is a Planned Admission number of a multiple of 30. Some primary schools combine two different age groups into a class of 30. This can happen when the Planned Admission number is 15, or 20  or a multiple of these. The Code also covers these cases. Other arrangements include smaller reception classes feeding into classes of 30 in Years One and Two. Again the Code covers this case:

3.29  The panel must also consider whether admission of an additional child would cause future infant class size prejudice e.g. a school publishes an admission number of 60, admitting 20 children to three reception classes, which become two classes of 30 children in Years 1 and 2. Admission of a 61st child to reception would lead to one of the Year 1 classes exceeding the infant class size limit unless the school takes remedial measures, such as recruiting an additional teacher. Therefore there would be infant class size prejudice.

Possible reasons for appeal:

(1)you have exceptional circumstances - and if you don't know if your circumstances are exceptional, they almost certainly aren't! Those unlikely to be exceptional include some heart rending cases of difficulty of travel, poor schools allocated, parental commitments, and children heading off in different  directions. None of these are likely to be accepted as reasons for AppealPanels to break the rules they are bound to follow.

(2) A second possibility is where Infant Class Legislation does not apply, for example when instead of the normal class size of 30 children, the intake is not a multiple of 10 or 15  (these two numbers allow mixed age classes of 30).

(3) Some church schools where the oversubscriptiuon rules have been loosely drawn up, and contain flaws.

(4) a mistake has been made and a child who is lower down the preference list than you, has been offered a place.

(5) A family has been offered a place on fraudulent evidence. This can be withdrawn, creating a vacant space.

65) a very small number of academies may be prepared to break the rules!



Tuesday, 21 December 2010 18:21

Admissions Fraud

Last updated July 2017

Fraudulent Admission applications occur for places in both Primary and secondary schools and in every Local Authority in the country, including both Kent and Medway. 

I believe this is a growing problem, and what is seen is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The reasons for this are often through desperation, as parents seek either to secure a place at the best school in the area, or a suitable school when faced with unpalatable alternatives. As such, one can understand their motives, but this is grossly unfair to those children and families who play by the rules. 

There are now two sanctions which are applied for applicants who are caught out making a fraudulent application. The first is the simple one of cancelling the application which can cause the perpetrator significant problems in securing an alternative place, or else cancelling a place at the school even if the child has taken up a place there. The second is for the Local Authority, or presumably the school Governing Body for a Foundation school or Academy, to initiate a prosecution as happened in two alleged cases in Harrow and Poole.  Neither of these were successful for whatever reason, and may have inhibited other Authorities from taking similar action, but the problem remains. I wrote a previous article, but relating to primary schools, here

I am regularly approached about this issue and will not advise on how to obtain a place at a school fraudulently. On the other hand, I successfully supported clients who have found out about a fraudulent application, to see it cancelled to enhance the chances of honest families to secure a place at their chosen school. I remain happy to pass on information on this issue anonymously to the appropriate authorities.

Currently I am aware of only one Admission Authority, the Governing Body of Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School, which routinely carries out checks on applicants, an initiative I applaud for a massively popular school in an area where it is evident that some families do take out short term leases to attempt to secure school places. However, I anticipate that the practice of attempting to  obtain school places by fraudulent means will grow.

The Schools Adjudicator carried out an enquiry into the practice of Fraudulent Admission to schools in 2009. He found some small and medium sized Local Authorities considered they had more than 100 identified fraudulent applications, whilst others, including large LAs, had none. In the same period KCC had 13 reported cases, of which most were dismissed. My own observations in the intervening years, suggest the problem has ballooned.

I consider Kent has two weaknesses in its procedure. The first lies in its delegation of discovering fraud to individual schools (I believe most cases of attempted fraud occur in primary schools), most of which do not have the resources to investigate such issues. The second is Kent's loose definition of place of residence when compared with some other authorities, which I have taken up with the Council but to no avail. Update July 2017: After years of lobbying by me, Kent now has a much tighter definition of residence for its own primary schools. Other schools should take note, but don't, some because they simply don;t want to know. 

The most common method of fraud identified was the use of addresses of relatives, the next being the taking up of short term leases or rental agreements on houses with no intention of living there. Update July 2017: I believe the latter is now the most common although I only have circumstantial evidence for this through the examples I have come across.








Sunday, 07 November 2010 20:26

Pressure on Kent Primary Reception Class Places

I wrote an article on this subject for the Gravesend Reporter in September, and another one in Kent On Sunday, with Radio Kent picking up the information and running it as a main story.
In summary, Kent has seen a dramatic fall in the number of vacant primary school places in the past six years from 3299 in the Reception Year in 2005-6, to an estimated 108 across the whole county next September.

KCC recommends a vacancy rate of from 5-7%, but these figures represent a surplus of just 0.7%. A part of the drop in vacant spaces was caused by the removal of 1312 places in areas such as Dover where there are empty classrooms, but there are worrying problems ahead for next September. Four districts are forecast to have  a shortage of places overall: Gravesham 11% (!); Tunbridge Wells and Dartford 8%, and Thanet 0.1 %. Two other areas that cause concern are Tonbridge which has fallen from a surplus of 19% to a minute one of 2.5%,  and Sevenoaks falling from 12% surplus to 5%. The three West Kent numbers are of particular significance as they indicate a considerable shortage of secondary school places in the area in a few years time, which will put additional pressure on all the six already oversubscribed grammar schools, for local children. For September just past, KCC put an additional 55 temporary places into TW primary schools, but this left just 3 spaces vacant in a single school at allocation day in March. Some children may subsequently have taken up places in Independent schools, but others will have moved in, so the crisis is real and getting worse.
Published in News Archive
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00

Medway Primary Schools

Updated May 2019

Entries on this page include the OFSTED Grade for each Primary School updated twice a year, also recording change from previous Inspection result, together with some other relevant information below. It is worth using the search engine on the Home Page to pick up other references to individual schools.

You will find advice on Primary school Admissions and Appeals here

You can read the full Report on each Primary School at OFSTED. Each school is awarded a main Grade: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement (previously Satisfactory), and Inadequate (two sub categories - A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to be Grade 3 or better - A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school). Each Report carries a brief description of the school before justifying its decision in more detail. If a school is in Special Measures or Serious Weaknesses, the results of further monitoring visits are noted.

A majority of the schools that have previously had a 'Good' or 'Outstanding' assessment are given a Short Inspection (known as Section 8). These are indicated by 'Good (S). These will be confirmed in their assessment grade. However for some of these schools, the Inspection Team may consider that there are concerns, or in the case of a Good school, grounds for raising the Grade and this can only be done by a full Section Five Grade. These are recorded for example as  'Outstanding (SC) or 'Good (SR). 

You will find an analysis of oversubscription and vacancies for  Medway Primary Places for September 2020 Admissions here, 2019 Admissions here,  2018 Admissions here, for 2017 here, and for 2016 hereThese each contain considerable additional material on many of the Medway primary schools. 

Reports on Inspections between between September 2019 and April 2020  are in the first table, followed by other tables containing older ones. With all schools closed by Coronavirus after Friday 20th March, any inspections not published by that date will be held over until the re-opening. Whether there are any further school inspections this school year, will be up to government, but I consider it unlikely, as even if they do it will be on a very different basis to normal. 

(A) Indicates the school is an Academy (2017 onwards)

Reports published post August 2019 and pre April 2019 are in the first table, followed by other tables containing older ones.
Sep 2019 - Apr 2020
School OFSTED Grade Date Change
All Faiths Children's Academy (A) Good Jan 20 Up one
Kingfisher (A) Good Sep 2019 Up one
Phoenix Junior (A) Requires Improvement Dec 19 Down One
St Michael's RC Good (S) Nov 19 No change


Napier (A) Good Dec 19 Up one
Saxon Way (A) Good Jan 20 No change
Woodlands (A) Good Dec 19 No change
Stoke (A) Good Jan 20 Up one
Riverside (A) Good Nov 19 No change
St Margaret's Infant Good (S) Feb 20 No change
Thames View (A) Good (S) Jan 20 No change
Crest Infant Good Feb 20 No change
Warren Wood Good  Oct 19 Up one
No Inspections in this period    



Sep 2018 - Jul 2019
School OFSTED Grade Date Change
All Saints CofE Good (S) Jul 19 No change
Luton Infant Requires Improvement Oct 18 No change
St Benedict's Catholic Good (S) May 19 No change
Swingate (A) Good (S) Nov 18 No change
Walderslade (A) Good (S) Nov 18 No change
Wayfield (A) Good May 19 Up two


Balfour Junior (A) Good (S) Dec 18 No change
Brompton-Westbrook (A) Good (S) Jan 19 No change
Byron (A) Requires Improvement Sep 18 Up one
Deanwood (A) Good (S) Nov 18 No change
Fairview Good (S Apr 19  No change
Hempsted Infant  Good Sep 18  Up one
Lordswood (A) Good   Jan 19 Up one 
Twydall (A)
Effective Action After
Serious Weaknesses
Mar 19
Allhallows (A) Good Jun 2019 No change
Hoo St  Werbergh (A) Good (S) Sep 18 No change
St Helen's CofE Good (S) Jun 19 No change
Parkwood Infant  Good (S) Feb 19 No change
Balfour Infant Good (S) Jun 19 No change
Balfour Junior (A) Good (S) Jan 19 No change
Chattenden (A) Good (S) Nov 18 No change
St Peter's Infant Good Dec 18 No change
Cedar Children's(A) Good Jun 2019 Up one
Temple Mill (A)  Good Oct 18 Up two


School OFSTED Grade Date Change
All Saints CofE (A) Good Jun 18 No change
Horsted Junior Good Mar 18 No change
Luton Junior Outstanding Sep 17 Up one
Oaklands Good Feb 18 Up one
St John's CofE Infant (A) Good Jun 18 No change
St Mary's Island CofE (Aided) Good Mar 18 No change


Burnt Oak Requires Improvement Jun 18 Down One
Hempstead Junior Good Jun 18 No change
Napier Community (A) Requires Improvement Oct 17 

No change 

St Mary's Catholic Good Oct 17 No change
Twydall (A) Serious Weaknesses Jul 18 No change
High Halstow (A) Good Jan 18 No change
St James CofE Primary (A) Good Jan 18 No change
Stoke Community (A) Requires Improvement Sep 17 No change
St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic (A) Good Jun 18 No change
St Margaret's CofE Junior (A) Good Jul 18 No change
St Thomas of Canterbury RC Good Jan 18  No change 
St William of Perth (A) Good May 18 No change

All Faith's Children's Community (A)   Requires Improvement Nov 17 Down One
English Martys Catholic Good Feb 18 No change


School OFSTED Grade Date Change
Kingfisher Community Requires Improvement Jul 17 No change
Requires Improvement
Oct 16
No change
New Horizons Children's Academy Good May 17 First inspection
New Road Primary Good Jun 17 Up one


Mar 17 
Down one 
Sept 16
No change
Park Wood Junior Good
Mar 17 
No change 
Delce Junior Requires Improvement Mar 2017 Down one
Feb 17 
Up two 
Good Feb 17 No change
Cuxton Community Infant Good Feb 17 No change
Cuxton Community Junior Good Jul 17 Up two
Warren Wood Primary Academy Requires Improvement Jun 17 Up one
Wainscott Primary Good Jun 17 Up one
No schools inspected


School OFSTED Grade Date Change
Balfour Infants Good Nov 15 No Change
Balfour Juniors Good Oct 15 No Change
Horsted Infant Outstanding Jun 16 Up one
Luton Infant Requires Improvement May 16 No change
Oaklands Requires Improvement Jan 16  No change
Phoenix Junior Academy Good May 16 No change
St Michael's RC Good Jan 16 Up one
Wayfield Primary (A) Special Measures May 16 Down two


Barnsole Outstanding Mar 16 Up two
Hempstead Infant Requires Improvement May 16 No change
Hempstead Junior**  Section 8 Emergency Inspection  Jan 16
Oasis Skinner Street (A)* Effective Action to Remove SM Dec 15
Effective Action to Remove SM Mar 16
Good Jun 16 Up two
Saxon Way Primary (A)  Good  Jun 16  Up two
Woodlands Academy Good Jan 16 No change
Hoo St Werburgh Good Jan 16 Up one
St Helen's CofE, Cliffe Good Nov 15 Up One
St Margaret's Infants Good Mar 16 No change
Delce Infant Good Jun 16 Up one
 Hilltop, Frindsbury  Good  Feb 16  Up one
 Elaine Primary Academy  Requires Improvement  Jun 16  No change
Temple Mill Effective Action to Remove SM
 Sep 15

  * Oasis Skinner Street, see article here.

    Hempstead Junior**  See articles here,



School OFSTED Grade Date Change
Greenvale Infants Reasonable progress to removal of SW Nov 14
Requires Improvement May 15 Up one
Kingfisher (A) Requires Improvement Jun 15 Up one
New Road Requires Improvement Jun 15 No change
St John's CofE Infant Good Mar 15 Up one
St Benedict's RC
Good Jul 15 No change
 Good  Nov 14  Down one


Brompton-Westbrook (A) Good Feb 15 No change
Burnt Oak Good Mar 15 Up one
Reasonable progress to removal of SM Feb 15
Insufficient Progress to removal of SM May 15
Fairview Community Good  Jun 15 Up one
Featherby Junior Requires Improvement Jan 15 No change
Miers Court Good Mar 15 No change
Oasis Skinner Street (A)* Special Measures  May 15 Down one
Park Wood Infant Good Mar 15 No change
Rivermead  Good  Sep 14  No change
Thamesview Good Jun 15 Up one
  School not enough progress to removal of SM.
School improvement plan remains unfit for purpose.
 Oct 14
 Reasonable progress to Removal of SM   Jan 15
  Reasonable progress to Removal of SM  Mar 15
Reasonable Progress to removal of SM May 15
Walderslade Good May 15 Up one
All Hallows (A) Good Jun 15 Up two
 Cliffe Woods (A)  Outstanding  Mar 15
Bligh Infants Outstanding  Jul 15 Up one
Chattenden Good Nov 14 No change
Pilgrim Outstanding Mar 15 Up one
St Peter's Infants Good Dec 14 No change
Temple Mill****
Special Measures Oct 14 Down one
LA Statement of Action fit for purpose
School Action Plan not fit for purpose 
 Jan 15
 Insufficient Progress to Remove SM   Apr 15
Cedar Requires Improvement Jun 15  No change
 Wainscott  Good  Mar 15  Down one

 * Oasis Skinner Street, see article here.

**Byron, see article here.

*** Twydall, most recent article here

**** Temple Mill, most recent mention here.


School OFSTED Grade Date Change
Balfour Junior Requires Improvement Sep 13 Down One
Greenvale Infants Serious Weaknesses Jan 14 Down two
Good progress since SW July 14
Horsted Junior Good Apr 14 Up one
Luton Infant Requires Improvement Mar 14 Down one
Oaklands Requires Improvement Oct 13 No Change
St Mary's Island CofE (Aided) Reasonable progress following SM Nov 13
Good Mar 14 Up two
St Michael's RC Requires Improvement Oct 13 No change
Walderslade Insufficient Progress following RI Sep 13
Barnsole Requires Improvement Dec 13 Down one
Byron Special Measures Jan 14 Down two

local authority statement of action is fit for purpose.
The school’s improvement plan is fit for purpose.

May 14
Featherby Infant Good Feb 14 No change
Hempstead Junior  Good  Oct 13 No change 
Hempstead Infant Requires Improvement Feb 14 Down one
Napier Community
failure to make required improvements
from previous OFSTED (see below)
Oct 13
repeated failure to make required improvements Jan 14
Twydall Primary (see below) Special Measures  Mar 14 Down two
LA Statement of Action fit for purpose following SM
School Action Plan not fit for purpose 
Jun 14
High Halstow Good Jul 14 Up one
Hoo St Werburgh  Requires Improvement  Oct 13  No change
St Helen's CofE Requires Improvement Oct 13 No change
St James' CofE Primary Academy Good May 14 Up two
St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Good Nov 13 No change
St Margaret's CofE VC Good Dec 13 No change
Cuxton Junior

Special Measures Oct 13 Down one
Local Authority Statement of Action not fit for purpose
School Improvement Plan not fit for purpose
Dec 13
Local Authority Statement of Action not fit for purpose
School Improvement Plan not fit for purpose
Mar 14
Reasonable Progress in removing SM Jul 14
Hilltop Requires Improvement Nov 13 Down one
 St Margaret's at Troy Town CofE  Good  Sep 13  Up one
St William of Perth RC Good Mar 14 Up one
 Warren Wood Community  Special Measures Dec 13 Down one

local authority statement of action fit for purpose.
School improvement plan not fit for purpose.

 Apr 14

Elaine Primary Academy Requires Improvement May 14 No change
English Martyr's Catholic Good Nov 13 No change
Gordon Infant Good Good Dec 13 No change
 Gordon Junior    Reasonable prog in Removing SW  Nov 13

  You will find my views on Medway Council's oversight of its primary schools and their poor performance at OFSTED here

School OFSTED Grade Date Change
(see below)
Special Measures Mar 13 Down one
Satisfactory progress from SM Jun 13
Luton Junior Good Jan 13 Up one
Maundene  Good Sep 12 No change
New Road Satisfactory progress  from SM Sep 12
Good progress from SM Jan 13
Requires Improvement Jun 13 Up one
St John's CofE VC Infant Requires Improvement Mar 13 No change
St Mary's Island  Special Measures Nov 12 Down one
Satisfactory progress from SM May 13
St Thomas More Catholic Outstanding Feb 13 Up one

Wayfield Community

Good Jan 13 Up one
Walderslade Requires Improvement Jun 13 No change


Monitoring Insp: Not enough progress 
Feb 13
Nov 12
Up one
Burnt Oak Requires Improvement Feb 13 No change
Deanwood Good Sep 12 Up one
Fairview Community Requires Improvement Jun 13 Down one
Featherby Junior Requires Improvement Mar 13 No change
Napier Community Requires Improvement Jun 13 No change
Riverside  Good Nov 12 Up one
Saxon Way
(see below)
Satisfactory progress from SM
Dec 12
Satisfactory progress from SM Mar 13
Not enough progress from SM Jun 13
Skinner Street Requires Improvement Feb 13 No change
St Mary's Catholic Good Jan 13 No change
St Thomas of Canterbury Good Mar 13 No change
Twydall Good Oct 12 1st inspection Academy
All Hallows 
(see below)
Special Measures Mar 13 Down one
Satisfactory progress from SM Jun 13
High Halstow Requires Improvement Oct 12 1st Inspection Academy
Stoke Community Requires Improvement Jun 13 No change
Park Wood Junior Good Jan 13 Good
Thames View Requires Improvement Jun 13 No change
Walderslade Requires Improvement Jun 13 No change
Bligh Junior Good Feb 13 Up one
Halling Satisf progr from NtoI Oct 12  
  Requires Improvement May 13 Up one
St William of Perth RC Requires Improvement Nov 12 No change
All Faith's Children's Community Good Jun 13 No change
Gordon Junior  Serious Weaknesses Jan 13 Down one
Satisfactory  progress from SW Jun 13
St Nicholas CofE Infant Outstanding Jan 13 Up one
Sherwin Knight Infant  Requires Improvement Dec 12 No change
Sherwin Knight Junior  Serious Weaknesses Nov 12 Down One
Reasonable progress to remove SW May 13 (see note below)
Temple Mill Requires Improvement Feb 13 No change

Sherwin Knight Junior School is about to close and be absorbed into the Infant School which is extending its age range. Medway Council was criticised in the latest OFSTED Inspection for not monitoring or challenging the school sufficiently through a period of change. For instance, it has not asked leaders how pupils’ learning is going to be protected while the process of improving teaching takes place (quite important I would have thought).

Saxon Way Primary School, Kingfisher Community Primary School and Lordswood School are all to be taken over by the Griffin Schools Trust as sponsored academies in September 2013. 

All Hallows Primary is becoming an academy as part of the Williamson Trust in September 2013, joining High Halstow and Elaine Primary Academy.  

Twydall Primary School has been the subject of controversy following a proposal for it to become a Sponsored Academy (July 14)

Pre September 2012 Reports


School OFSTED Grade Date          
All Hallows Primary, Hoo Satisfactory Jun 2011  
Balfour Junior Good Sep 2010  
Barnsole Junior, Gillingham Notice to Improve Nov 2011 Good Progress Jul 2012
Brompton-Westbrook Primary Satisfactory Dec 2010  
Burnt Oak Primary, Gillingham Inadequate progress Jun 2011 Monitoring inspection of Grade 3 schools
Byron Primary, Gillingham Good Mar 2011  
Chattenden Primary Good Jul 2010  
Cuxton Community Infant Good Jan 2012  
Cuxton Community Junior Satisfactory Feb 2011  
Deanwood Primary, Gillingham Satisfactory Mar 2011  
Delce Junior Good Jul 2010  
Elaine Primary, Rochester Satisfactory Jan 2011  
Fairview Community Primary Good May 2010  
Featherby Infant
Good Sep 2010  
Featherby Junior, Gillingham Satisfactory Jan 2011  
Glencoe Junior, Chatham Inadequate progress Mar 2011 Not an inspection, but an Interim monitoring of Grade 3 schools
Gordon Junior Special Measures Jun 2009 Good Progress Jun 2010
Gordon Junior Satisfactory Nov 2010 Removed from Special Measures
Greenvale Infant, Chatham Good Jun 2011  
Halling Primary Notices to Improve Feb 2012  
Hempstead Infant, Gillingham Good Jun 2011  
Horsted Infant, Chatham Good Feb 2012  
Horsted Junior, Chatham Satisfactory Feb 2012  
Lordswood School Satisfactory  May 2012  
Luton Infant and Nursery, Chatham Good May 2011  
 Luton Junior  Good Nov 2010  
Miers Court Primary, Gillingham Good Nov 2011  
 Oaklands Infant Chatham Notice to Improve Nov 2010 see below
Oaklands Infant Chatham  Satisfactory Dec 11  
Oaklands Junior Satisfactory Nov 2010  
Napier Community Infant & Nursery, Gillingham Satisfactory Feb 2011  
New Road School & Nursery Unit, Chatham Special Measures Oct 2011 Satisfactory progress, Feb 2012, good progress May 2012
Saxon Way Primary, Gillingham Special Measures Jun 2012  
St Benedict's RC Primary Good Jun 2010  
St Helen's CofE Primary, Cliffe Satisfactory Feb 2012  
St James CofE VA Primary, Grain Special Measures Dec 2010 Satisf Progress May 2011, See below
St James CofE VA PrimaryGrain  Satisfactory Jul 2012 see above
St Margaret's CofE Junior, Rainham
Notice to Improve Sep 2009 Inadequate Progress Feb 2009 (see below)
St Margaret's CofE Junior, Rainham Good Nov 2010 Removed from Special Measures
St Margaret's Infant School, Rainham Good Jun 2011  
St Margaret's at Troy Town CofE VC, Rochester Satisfactory Jan 2012  
St Mary's Island CofE (Aided) Primary Satisfactory Jan 2011  
St Michael's RC Primary, Chatham Satisfactory Nove 2011  
St Peter's Infant, Rochester Good Mar 2011  
St William of Perth RC Primary Satisfactory Jul 2010  
Sherwin Knight Infant, Strood Satisfactory Jun 2010  
Sherwin Knight Infant,   Inadequate Progress Sep 2011 Monitoring Inspection of Grade 3 schools
Skinner Street Junior Special Measures Jun 2009 Good progress July 2010
Skinner Street Junior, Gillingham Satisfactory Jan 2011 Removed from Special Measures
Spinnens Acre Community Junior Notice to Improve Sep 2009 Inadequate Progress May 2010
Spinnens Acre Community Junior, Chatham Special Measures Oct 2010 Satisfactory Progress Mar 2011. Good progress Dec 2011, see below
Spinnens Acre Community Junior, Chatham Satisfactory Mar 2012 see above
Temple Mill Junior Satisfactory Nov 2010  
Thames View Junior , Rainham Satisfactory Feb 2011  
Twydall Junior, Gillingham Good Mar 2011  
Walderslade Primary Satisfactory Sep 2010  
Wainscott Primary Good Mar 2012  
Warren Wood Community Primary, Rochester
Special Measures Jul 2009 Inadequate Progress Jul 2010 & Sep 2010, Satisfactory Progress Mar 2011
Warren Wood Community Primary, Rochester Satisfactory Jun 2011  
Wayfield Primary, Chatham Satisfactory Sep 2010 Inadequate progress, Monitoring Inspection, Mar 2012
Woodlands Infant Good Nov 2010  


Admission Comments for September 2012 entry (Written March 2012)

The general Medway picture on Infant Class admissions for the last three years is as follows.


  2012 2011 2010
  No of Medway Pupils %

No of Medway pupils

% No of pupils %
Offered a named Medway school 2980 97.0 2842 97.4 2873 96.0
Offered first preference 2731 88.9 2678 91.8 2775 92.7
Offered second preference 184 6.0 127 4.3 98 3.3
Offered third preference 52 1.7 31 1.1    
Offered fourth pref 13 0.4 6 0.2    
Allocated by Medway 90 3.0 75 2.5 107


Total of applications 3071   2917   2980  

The number of Medway children offered a place at a non-Medway school is 73, with 42 non-Medway children offered places in Medway primary schools, all of these were a preference expressed by the parent/carer. Most of these will have been in the Walderslade area, where the county boundary crosses the M2.

The percentage of Medway reception aged children being offered one of their four named schools is 97.0% slightly down from 97.4% last year. These figures will always be higher than those of Kent, who only allow parents to name three schools. However, the number who were not offered their first choice has risen significantly from 7.3% in 2010, to 8.2% in 2011, to 11.1% this year. This year's increase will be down to the 5% rise in pupil numbers for 2012 Year R.

Pupil rolls at Year R in Medway have been falling for many years, bottoming out in 2011, and figures are reported to show increases each year from now on for the next three years (all years that children have been born and can be counted). In 2010, Ridge View Primary School in Chatham  was controversially closed and many parents have expressed unhappiness at the lack of provision this year, as revealed by the fall in proportion of first choices offered. As a result of the closure, the number of places has fallen by 60 to 3336, whilst the Medway Reception age group has risen by 154 children, an effective reduction in 217 places.

This still leaves just 3% of Medway children being allocated a school not of their choice,  33 of the 90 concerned being in Chatham, to Luton Infants School, the only school in Chatham left with any vacancies, and where the key pressure can be seen . This suggests that the closure of Ridge View was a mistake, with St John's Infants, which also came close to being closed, being full. No other school in Medway received more than 7 allocations. What is clear from the parental preferences  is their quite understandable wish to avoid their children attending the 30% of Medway primary schools that are, or have been, failed by OFSTED.

Most oversubscribed school was Balfour Infants, with 41 first choices turned away, followed by All Saints CofE Primary with 34, then: Fairview Community Primary; The Pilgrim; Miers Court Primary; and Twydall Primary, all with more than 15 first choices rejected.

The Hoo Peninsula primary schools have the highest vacancy rate between them, with 18% of places empty, compared with 3% in Chatham and 9% overall across Medway. Four schools, all with a Satisfactory OFSTED are at least half empty.


Published in Medway Primary Schools
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 00:00

In Year Admissions

Last Updated  February 2021
Update: Coronavirus temporary arrangements for In Year admission to grammar schools for Kent and Medway 2020-21, below. 
Note: Any expatriate families may find helpful an article I wrote for the British Council Families Association newsletter, Jan 2015: Finding a school on returning home.

 There are various reasons parents want their children to change schools outside the normal transfer frameworks, both in the primary and secondary school sectors. The enormous scale of in-year admissions can be seen from KCC figures for applications between 1st September 2012 - 11 June 2013, when there were 9902 applications for primary aged children and 3020 for those of secondary age (these figures are not available for subsequent years as schools now handle their own in-year admissions - see below). 

The most common is moving house: expatriates moving back from foreign countries; children of UK service personnel or crown servants returning home; those moving into Kent or Medway from another county, or those moving within the area.

There are also parents unhappy with their child’s current school or those seeking a grammar school place post the 11 plus or currently attending a non-selective school, or those simply looking for what they perceive as a ‘better’ school.

Some parents are unhappy with the primary or secondary school allocated during the normal school admissions process and wish to apply for fresh schools additional to those on their application form. 

Finally (I think) those whose children have been home-schooled or attending a private school and, for a variety of reasons wish them to take up a place in a state school.

Moving House
        ·       Proof of residence is often the key sticking point for those moving house.

·       However, if the school of your choice has vacancies, then the place of residence is immaterial provided it is in the United Kingdom  (but if the school is selective your child will still need to take and pass an admission test first).
·       Otherwise, with few exceptions (some church schools & the super-selective grammar schools), you are unlikely to be seriously considered for a place at the school (at appeal, see below) until you have committed yourself to purchase (contract signed) or rented (often 12 month rental agreement) a property in the neighbourhood.  
·       Many parents want a school place before they move home. Apart from the exceptions above, you won’t get one unless there are vacancies, certainly not if you are moving from another country. However, there is nothing to stop you making enquiries of the school directly – each will have its own policy for dealing with such enquiries. These range from 'no assistance' (most common with heavily oversubscribed schools and some primary schools with limited facilities to deal with a large number of enquiries), through to those schools who will offer a visit to look round and a discussion. Do not assume that the latter are short of applicants. Some believe it is a common courtesy for potential parents.
·       Almost by definition, the most popular schools are oversubscribed (full), and so you will be looking at an application followed by an appeal that may of course not be successful. As a result, many children spend a period of time out of school, which can be as much as three months (even I have a grandchild who spent this amount of time without a school!).     
·      There are special arrangements for children of UK service personnel or crown servants returning home (School Admissions Code, para 2.18). However, the application of these Codes does not provide much advantage in gaining a place at a specific oversubscribed school for In Year applications. 
·      In any case, the Local Authority will offer your child in a school with vacancies. 
·      I used to work with expatriates relocating back to Kent to try and secure places for their children in Year 7 of new secondary schools each September. Their problems appear particularly acute as KCC is not allowed to begin the process until they are domiciled in the UK, and therefore it is wise to move before the admission process begins.
Grammar Schools (see below for important variation in the school Year 2020-2021).
You will find considerably more information on the pages dealing specifically with appeals to Kent and Medway grammar schools, the former including a section on 2021 appeals.   
·     Almost without exception, entrance to grammar school is via an admission test, which will usually be set in-house for entry from December in Year 7 and above, and varies in content from school to school. Success in one grammar school’s entrance test is rarely transferable to a second school. For entry up until this point, Kent children will take the Kent Test which is transferable between schools. Medway Council does not offer a testing facility for late applicants and in this case, the application will be turned down, but parents will have the right to appeal against the decision, putting forward what evidence they are able, to try and convince the Panel the child is of grammar school ability. This is unlikely to succeed except at Chatham Grammar. For Chatham and Holcombe grammar schools there is an alternative route. Apply to a Kent grammar school, take the Kent Test, and you then have the right to use the result as a qualification for entry (or if unsuccessful appeal) to these two schools. 
·      Most grammar schools are full in each Year Group (but feel free to check) and so there can be several stages to securing a place. Where the school is full in the relevant Year Group,  they will determine after you apply, whether to test before making a decision. If the child is successful you will be offered an oversubscription appeal to try and win a place, or a place directly if there are vacancies. If unsuccessful in the test, you still have the right to appeal, whether or not the school is full, but will have to show alternative evidence that your child is of grammar school ability. Sometimes the child will be turned down without testing on the grounds that the school is full. In this case, if you go ahead with an appeal, the child will be tested before the hearing so that appropriate evidence is forthcoming.

      Chances of success if the school is full will vary enormously, depending on the pressure on places.


 Medway Council staff have a habit of offering different advice to different enquirers. 
2020-21: Coronavirus
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no late Testing in Kent or Medway. Late applications for Year 7 in Kent and In Year applications for later Year Groups will be rejected, with parents offered the opportunity to go to appeal. At appeal they will be required to demonstrate their child is of grammar school ability, although there will be limited evidence available. This will tend to favour children at private schools. There is a news article in progress and I will provide a link when this is available. Strangely (?), the government has made an exception in the case of private schools.  where testing can take place. 
Challenging Behaviour & Exclusion
Special rules apply where the child has a history of challenging behaviour (who defines this?) or has been permanently excluded from at least two other schools  but only for In Year applications. (School Admissions Code Para 3.8) – However, the Local Authority still has to find a place locally for such a child.


The procedure is very simple. If you are looking for a place in a different one to the school you have been offered in Year Seven, you can apply for any school in the county after a set date (Wednesday 21st April in 2021). There is nothing to stop you from submitting the form a little earlier.  You simply need an In-Year Casual Application Form and send it to the schools you are interested in. The same form is used for all schools for Years 7-11.  There is no centralised process, so you can send as many applications in as you wish. If turned down, you have the right to appeal.
Important update, February 2021, see below
The Council has at last delegated late applications to all schools after December in Year Seven, following many years of confusion, and quite simply If a parent/carer wishes to apply for a school as an in-year admission you must apply directly to the relevant school. The arrangements set out here require you to complete a Casual Admission Form for each school you wish to apply to. These also state: 'If the school has a vacant place and your child has the highest eligibility against the oversubscription criteria then the school must offer it to you'. This is a nonsense. It should read: If the school has a vacant place in the appropriate year group then the school must offer it to you, with the exception of grammar schools if the child is not grammar qualified'. The note at the bottom makes clear that Medway Council still monitors applications closely.  
Medway Council may still follow its illegal practice of contacting the previous school to find details of academic progress for most schools. Medway may try and insist on your being locally resident, but cannot deny your right to apply using your current address provided it is in this country.
Up until December of Year Seven, the Council retains control of applications. Up until 31st March, parents should fill in a Waiting List Request Form, although this is not mentioned in the Late Application Section here.   After that period, as long as you submitted a common application form, you are able to submit a fresh waiting list form including or exclusively of new schools at any time up until 31st December. This information is not published on the Medway website or elsewhere and does not apply to grammar schools if the child has not taken and passed the Medway Test. 
A Medway Aside
The section of the Medway Council website dedicated to schools offers a different experience,  with an interesting Roundabout provided for those who wish to use it to find related information (see below).
The Medway Late Application Procedure Roundabout for Year Seven Places according to the website
From The Medway Council website, starting at Apply to Move School.

The following are not in-year admissions and will require you to apply through the normal processes:

If you follow the link to 'transfer to Year 7', it takes you back to  Apply for a secondary school place, at the foot of which you will find:

If you apply for a school place after the closing date, your application will only be considered if you can provide a good reason, for example:

  • serious illness
  • bereavement
  • late move to the Medway area

If you miss the closing date you can still submit an application up to 5pm on 4 December 2020 with a letter explaining why you missed the closing date. We'll decide if late applications received by 4 December 2020 can be accepted. Any applications not accepted as on-time or received after 4 December 2020 will be held pending until we process late applications from 19 April 2021.

If you follow the link provided, it takes you to a fairly random page including a section on 

In-Year Admissions
Applications to the current Year R-Year 11 are classed as in-year admissions. In-year admissions applications cannot be submitted using this website. If you wish to apply for in-year admission, please read the information and guidance about the in-year admission process.
And you are back at the start, via the misinformation in the previous paragraph. 
You may have thought that the legal document 'Medway Council Co-ordinated Scheme for Secondary Admissions Academic Year 2021/22 Incorporating admission to Year 7 (secondary schools and academies) and Secondary In-Year Admissions' would supply the answer to the conundrum, but it chooses to ignore it: 
Section 29: The decision on whether a reason for late application is acceptable will be at the discretion of the School Admissions and Transport Management Team. For situations where it is decided that the reason for late submission is not exceptional and for ALL applications received after this date (December 4th 2020), the application will be held pending until after allocation on the stated offer date and will be processed as part of the ongoing reallocation of vacant places as defined above. 
Unfortunately, 'above' can only apply to the two preceding sections where 'reallocation' is briefly mentioned, but no reference whatever is made about late applications, or how they are made. The powers accruing to the School Admissions and Transport Management have gone beyond what is reasonable and probably lawful for many years.
In short, I was unable to advise on the way forward, to lodge a late application for Year Seven after March 31st, until I was offered an individual explanation by Medway Council officers, who appear much more helpful than in previous years. It may be that with a change of personnel at the top of the relevant department there is a postive change in attitude. You may find the parental comment here, written before this, a salutary warning!
Good luck!



There was considerable discussion in the media last week about pressure on Primary School places. I have carried out considerable analysis of the Kent situation and clearly there are critical parts of the county, whilst in others with falling numbers there may well be calls for undersubscribed schools to close.

My analysis is based on Primary school allocations in March 2010, although of course there will have been some movement since, especially in parts of West Kent (see below) where some parents disappointed with their school allocation will have taken up places in private schools.  It is immediately apparent that the most critical area was Tunbridge Wells where KCC headed off some problems by creating an additional 55 places to add to the 765 available. Just four schools out of the 17 had vacant spaces and between them they absorbed the 76 children who were not offered any of the schools applied for, leaving just 3 vacant spaces in the whole district.

Next up was Sevenoaks where again KCC intervened to put in an additional 45 places. This time there were just 6 out of 27 schools with vacancies initially, but after 61 Local Authority allocations, there were still 38 spaces left in these schools.

Gravesham is an area I know well and eighteen months ago I warned KCC there were problems brewing. This year they began to come to a head and in Northfleet there was not a single school with a vacancy, with some children being sent to the new Manor School in Swanscombe expanded to take them.  In urban Gravesend itself, the situation is not much better, with just three schools having vacancies, one of which received 27 children whose parents had not applied for it. On the other hand, there are plenty of spaces going begging in the rural areas of Gravesham.

Other hot spots include: parts of Dartford, Tonbridge and surprisingly parts of Thanet. On the other hand, Dover had a quarter of its places left empty, with five schools being under half full. A total of 25 Kent primary schools were under half full, with three schools taking in 20% or less of their capacity. If government is looking to squeeze the budget, KCC will shortly have to make some very difficult decisions with these schools, perhaps to provide funds for the areas under pressure. The most popular primary school in Kent was St John's CofE Primary - Tunbridge Wells, followed by Callis Grange Infants in Broadstairs.

I have focused on numbers in this article, but we should never forget it is the future lives and education of four year old children being moved around to make the spaces fit.

Published in Newspaper Articles
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