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A message from Patrick Leeson:

18 April 2017 weekly update

18 April 2017

This week, Patrick summarises Kent's best Primary school offer day since coordinated Primary admissions began.

Dear Colleagues

Welcome back to the new term. I hope you had a relaxing Easter break.

Primary School Offer Day - 97% of Parents Offered a School of their Choice

Today is the announcement of offers to parents about their choice of school for their child starting in Reception class in September this year. A record number, 97% of Kent parents who applied for a school place will be offered one of their preferred Primary Schools. This is the highest recorded percentage achieved since coordinated Primary Admissions began.

16,855 children will receive a school of their preference with 15,429 being offered their first preference school, nearly a 2% improvement on 2016’s first preference figures. A total of 17,329 children will receive an offer of a school place.

89% of parents will receive an offer of their first preference school and just over 6% will have an offer of their second preference school.

Only 2.56% of applicants were unable to be offered a school of their preference, a reduction of 162 from 2016 to 444 this year. Of those 444 who were not offered one of their preferred schools, nearly half failed to make use of all the available preferences, limiting our ability to offer them a preferred school.

We continue to achieve well in satisfying parental preferences for two key reasons. Firstly we now have 91% of Primary schools rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted. This allows parents to confidently name schools in their area, which has led to these record breaking figures. Secondly we have done well to keep pace with increasing the number of places for the rise in pupil numbers. The combination of close working with schools and careful planning means Kent is able to sustain a high proportion of children starting at one of their preferred schools.

Unfortunately, each year a small minority of children are not offered a school of their choice. We encourage families to use all the preferences available to them so that they have a better chance of securing a preferred school. All the children who need a place will have a place and the County Council will offer each of these families an alternative local school. As part of the process in the coming weeks many will go on to secure places of their preference through waiting lists and reallocation, and we should all be able to reassure parents that our Admissions team is on hand to help them make the most of the options available to them.

Parents who applied online will receive an email on Tuesday 18 April, indicating which school they have been offered. Those who applied by post will be sent notification by first class post also on Tuesday 18 April. 95% of parents now apply online.

Parents can accept their school place offer or seek alternatives via the reallocation process if they are not happy with their allocation. Spaces remain in schools around Kent as a direct result of measures taken by the Council to manage capacity in line with increasing demand. There are still just over 2000 places available across the County.

Parents can access more information on how to join a waiting list and/or appeal by going to Kent's Primary Admissions page or by phoning the Admissions team on 03000 41 21 21.

This is good news for Kent and the best year for allocating schools in line with parents’ preferences. Thank you to all Primary schools for delivering this good outcome, for the continued work to improve the quality of schools and for the helpful way schools continue to work with us to expand places where they are needed.

Patrick Leeson
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education