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Displaying items by tag: admissions

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 12:23

Primary School Admissions

 Last updated: April 2020


There is more information, advice and comment on the School Admission Code page.

For parents applying for any school in Kent outside the normal admission round, you should approach individual schools directly to apply, although you are of course to be encouraged to talk to them in advance of an application.  In Medway, you need to approach the Local Education Authority for an In Year Admission Form. You will find further details here.

News and Information Items relevant to Kent & Medway Primary School Admission for September 2020

Kent & Medway Primary School Performance: 2019 Key Stage 2 Results

Official Guide to Applying for a Primary School in Kent 2020

Medway Website: Applying for a Primary School in Medway 2020

Kent and Medway Primary Allocations 2020

Primary School OFSTED Outcomes in Kent and Medway for 2018-9

Kent Primary School Allocations 2019: Oversubscription and Vacancies

Medway: Oversubscription and vacancies for 2019

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes 2019

The link between sibling numbers and 'catchment' distance in reception class admissions 2015


Information on Individual Schools is here.

  •  There are standard application forms known as the Reception Common Application Form (RCAF) and Junior Common Application Form (JCAF). Parents can also apply on-line here, and I recommend this process.
  •  Primary school admissions are straightforward for most parents, with similar rules for entry to most schools, except church voluntary aided schools.
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR THE CORRECT SCHOOL. EACH YEAR, I AM CONTACTED BY PARENTS WHO HAVE PUT DOWN THE WRONG SCHOOL BY MISTAKE, ALMOST ALWAYS TWO SCHOOLS WITH SIMILAR NAMES, OFTEN CHURCH SCHOOLS WITH THE SAME SAINT IN THE TITLE! YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR CHOICE, ONLY APPLY AGAIN LATE THROUGH THE  In Year Admission process. However, if the school is full, an appeal is unlikely to be successful because of Infant Class Legislation. The worst scenario I have come across in recent years was a Gravesend child being offered a school in Dover, because parents ticked the box for a school with a very similar name to the one they intended.
  • If applying for a Kent or Medway primary school place for September 2021  at the normal age of admission, you MUST complete an admission form by 15 January 2021, whether on-line or by paper application. This allows you to name three schools in order of preference if you live in Kent, six in Medway. If you don't have one, a Kent admission prospectus for your area can be downloaded at Primary, for Medway you need to use the website at Medway.
  • There is no need to put your local school down in first place; enter the one you most want your child to attend. You will not damage your chances at your local school by putting it in a lower order.
  • For all junior, infant and primary community and voluntary controlled schools, most primary academies, free and foundation schools and some voluntary aided schools, the rules for allocating places if the school is oversubscribed, are the same. First priority in Kent goes to 1) Looked After children; then in order 2) (relevant only to junior schools where there is a linked infant school) attendance at the relevant infant school; 3) sibling link; 4) health, social and special access reasons (health and special access to Halling Primary only in Medway); 5) nearness of children's home to school. Medway is the same, except that there is an additional priority after (3) given to children who complete the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) and qualify under the rules for church denominational voluntary controlled schools. In both Authorities if there is any doubt at all as to your eligibility under one of these categories, you MUST consult the relevant Kent (divided into Districts) or Medway prospectus to check details (I am unable to go into the fine detail here).  Most of such decisions rest on distance, which is "as the crow flies" in Kent, and "by the shortest safe walking route in Medway" two very different measures. Both authorities give the furthest distance out  that places were offered in 2020 for most schools, which is a useful guide. However, it can change quite dramatically if there is a much higher or lower number of siblings who have priority, so it may be worthwhile contacting the school to see if they expect a significantly different number. However, the comment in the previous section still applies. 
  • If applying for a primary academy, free, foundation or voluntary aided school, make sure you understand the admission rules and have filled in the supplementary admission form, if one is required.  For church schools in this category, read the rules well in advance to see what you must do to qualify under the relevant category. For those reading this page outside the normal admission round, such rules should also be looked at well in advance, to see what conditions will apply for an application to stand a chance of success.
  • You will find primary school league tables for Kent here and Medway here. These need to be treated with extreme caution. They are heavily influenced by (1) the ability of pupils admitted to the school – see the most recent OFSTED Report for details of attainment for local schools on entry, on my Kent or Medway Primary School individual school information pages. or for a single school by direct link to OFSTED here. (2) the importance the school places on achieving high SATs results as distinct from educating the pupils.  I have posted details of Kent Primary School admission and appeal statistics for 2019/20 entry here.
  • If your child is at Infant School and you do not wish to transfer to a Linked Junior School, you can apply for other Junior Schools on the JCAF, or for any all through primary school school on an In Year Application Form, although chances that it will have vacancies are low, and you may have to try through the appeal process. Infant Class Legislation does not apply for such appeals. 
  • Key dates for Kent & Medway applications are  
Key Action
Key Dates in Scheme
Closing Date for RCAFs/JCAFs
Friday 15th January 2021 (Kent & Medway)
Offer day (posted or on line after 4 p.m.)
Friday 16th April 2021
(Kent & Medway)
Date by which places should be accepted or declined
Wednesday 15th May 2021 (Kent)
Friday 14th May 2021 (Medway) 
(Kent - Wednesday 6th May 2020; Medway - Friday 15th May 2020) 
Councils re-allocate places that have become available
Wednesday 9th June 2021 (Kent)
w/c Monday 7th June 2021 (Medway)
(Kent - Wednesday 10 Jun 2020; Medway - w/c Monday 1st June 2020)
Tagged under

Last week, some 9,000 Kent children took the Kent eleven plus, results due on 18th October. Parents then have less than two weeks until 31 October (a week shorter than last year!) to list four secondary schools in preference order on the Secondary Common Application Form (SCAF), so early planning is important. Already some secondary schools have held Open Days, and parents should visit all possible schools and ask about the chances of a successful application.

It is impossible to give specific advice on choosing schools in a short article, as the situation varies enormously from town to town and often year by year. My website at provides more information and I plan to expand this shortly.

If your child passes the Kent test, you can name just grammar schools on your SCAF.  If you don’t qualify for any of these, you may be offered the nearest grammar school with a vacancy but last year some parents were offered non selective places as there were no other local grammar school places vacant. If your child has passed the eleven plus and you name grammar schools and a non selective school, for example a church comprehensive school, you will be offered the highest school on your list for which you are eligible, whether or not it is a grammar school. If your child has taken the eleven plus and not passed, you must include any grammar on the SCAF  you wish to appeal to, but I recommend you include at least one non-selective school. Appeals will not be heard until the summer of Year Six. If your child has not taken the eleven plus, you can only apply for non selective schools.  Some schools last year still claimed falsely that parents needed to put the school first on the SCAF to secure a place.

After closing date each school draws up a list of eligible applicants according to their oversubscription rules. They are not told where you listed them on the SCAF or which other schools you applied to, so list schools exactly as you prefer them - there is no way of improving your chances at a school by tactics of choice.  The only exception to this is, if  going to appeal, you will find the appeal panel is told and may be influenced by the school you have been allocated. There is no advantage in putting just one school on your list.


I strongly recommend you apply on-line so you reliably receive results the day before they are delivered by post. Last year over 79% of Kent parents went online.

On National Offer Day 1st March 2011, your child will be allocated the highest preference school for which they qualify.  So some children could get their fourth choice ahead of others who listed it first if their claim is stronger. If you don’t qualify for any school on your list, KCC offers a place at the nearest appropriate school with vacancies.


This is a time when rumours swirl about the playground gates, many of them old wives tales. If in doubt check it out and my best wishes to every family going through what is undoubtedly an extremely stressful process. Remember, over 80% of all families were offered their first choice school in March last year, a figure which will have been much higher after the appeals process was concluded.

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