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Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00

Medway Primary School Allocations 2014

Updated 2 May 2014, incorporating data from item above

Medway Council appears 'delighted' with the continued fall in the percentage of children being offered their first choice Medway school, more than 2% down on 2013, and more than 6% down on three years ago. Unfortunately, the glowing and very positive Council Press Release is once again vague on the figures, the full release being produced below. Up until 2011, full percentages and comparisons with previous years were produced but, given the annual decline ever since, the Council appears to have made a policy decision to try and hide the reality of the problem. The portfolio holder for Children's Services is quoted as being"delighted to see so many families in Medway have been offered a place at one of their named schools and such a high number at their first choice school". 

More worrying for too many parents is the inexorable rise in the number of children offered none of their choices and being allocated places by the Local Authority.

A major reason for the fall in first choices being offered is not, as often stated in the media, that parents are chasing the best schools, but rather they are trying any way to avoid those with the worst reputations, as explained in my more detailed analysis above. With the OFSTED outcomes of Medway primary schools continuing to plummet this is becoming more and more difficult year on year......

In the table below, the total number of offers refers to the total number of offers made for places in Medway primary schools. I shall have to wait for an FOI request to clarify the percentage of Medway children receiving offers, as distinct from the whole cohort of Medway and out of area applicants to Medway schools, but there should be little difference between the two, given the small proportion involved crossing the Medway boundary in either direction. It appears from the total number of Medway children considered being 3351, that there is a small net outflow of 29 children. There will be no children from outside Medway included in the "Allocated by Local Authority" section, so the annual increase in the number who have been awarded none of their schools applies purely to Medway children. 

Medway Primary Schools: allocation to Reception classes April 2014
Offers made by Medway Primary schools 2014 2013 2012  2011 
No of pupils %        No of pupils % No of pupils % No of pupils %

 Offered a school named on the application form

 3171 95.45% 3058 95.95% 2949 97.00%  2868  97.45%

Offered a first preference

 2847 85.7% 2803 88.00% 2707 89.05%  2718  92.35%
Offered a second preference 231 6.95% 189 5.93% 176 5.79%  129  4.38%
Offered a third preference  78 2.35% 48 1.51% 55 1.81%  33  1.12%
Offered a fourth preference  15  0.45% 18 0.56% 11 0.36%  6  0.20%
Allocated by local authority  151 4.55% 129 4.05% 91 2.99%  75  2.55%
Total number of offers 3322 3187 3040 2943 

 

Medway Council Press Release on Reception Class Allocations

Children get their primary school offer: Almost 96 per cent of Medway children will be starting their school life at one of their preferred primary schools this September. The latest school admissions figures reveal that nearly 86 per cent of children have secured a place at their first preference school, 7 per cent at the second preference, and 2 per cent at their third. Families across Medway will shortly start receiving news of the primary school their child has been offered for September 2014 with letters being posted tomorrow (Wednesday, 16 April) by first class, and emails being sent out after 4pm. The school admissions process for Medway is a huge task and involves the council’s Student Services Admissions Team processing applications for 3,351 Medway children and 97 out of area applicants. The numbers of applications continue to grow year on year with nearly 500 more received this year compared with those in 2010. Applications for primary school places opened in September last year and parents had until 15 January to submit their applications to the council, naming up to four schools.  Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Cllr Mike O’Brien said: "I'm delighted to see so many families in Medway have been offered a place at one of their named schools and such a high number at their first choice school. “Starting school is a real milestone for children and their families as well as an incredibly exciting time and I’d like to wish all the families and children the best of luck come September.” Director of Children and Adult Services Barbara Peacock said: "I’m pleased that lots of children have gained places at one of their preferred schools. This is an important step as children begin their school life.” 

The parallel article for Kent County Council allocations explains the problem with appeals for Infant School places, the relevant appeal statistics for 2013 entry being produced below. 

 

To quote from the Statutory Code of Practice for School Appeals, relating to Infant Class Legislation: "The threshold for finding that an admission authority’s decision to refuse admission was not one that a reasonable authority would have made is high. The panel will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit the 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'". Most of the decisions upheld below, will have been made because of an error in process in awarding other places. 
 
Medway Primary School Appeal Outcomes 2013
 
Number of 
Appeals
Upheld Rejected
Appeal
Withdrawn
Place offered
before Appeal
Reception Class Appeals  157  6  98  28  25
Junior Schools  6  2  0  0  4
 

I can only express my sympathy for Medway families caught up in this horrible situation affecting their children's futures. It would have been good to see Medway Council express equal sympathy, rather than the delight they are currently showing.   

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 23:03

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