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.