The 44 first choice families who were not offered places, and presumably a number of others who put the school second were shuffled off to schools such as Sherwood Park and St Matthew's High Brooms. These schools will have made plans for the additional children, inducting them and employing sufficient staff to cater for the increased numbers only to see their work undermined by the KCC decision. Parents have been left in a state of limbo and the churning of children as they suddenly change schools can hardly benefit anyone. Those who did not appeal will be feeling guilty, for trusting in KCC to get it right in the first place. And all this was unnecessary and entirely predictable, with the school governors making clear to the Independent Appeal Panel that they had no defence against admitting the extra children.
The draft Commissioning Plan also identifies that there is a temporary enlargement of one Form of entry for the next two years (i.e. from 2013) at Bishops Down, Claremont, St Matthews High Brooms and Pembury, to meet the significant pressure on Reception places. However, the Bishops Down Primary website states: "Following negotiations with the Local Authority the school has been told that they will revert to a 1 form intake (30 pupils in September 2013)", i.e. it is reducing its intake from the 60 of the past two years, Which is true?. In some recent years, the catchment distance fro Bishops Down has fallen as low as 350 yards, when intake was 30; it has risen to twice that with the intake being 60, but will presumably will shrink again in 2013, forcing local children away from their school in a direct contradiction of the aspirations for the commissioning plan.
One has to ask why these perverse decisions are being made to the disadvantage of local children, in spite of the acknowledged pressure on places in Tunbridge Wells, as described in the Commissioning Plan. TW MP Greg Clarke was concerned about the issues of Bishop's Down and St James' and met KCC to look at the issues recently. Perhaps he can make sense of what is happening. I can't.