Nearly 1,500 children in Kent and Medway are missing places at all their favorite schools

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Government figures show nearly 1,500 children living in Kent and Medway have not found a place at one of their favorite schools. The Department for Education (DfE) revealed that 1,039 children applying for secondary schools and 454 children applying for primary school places were either offered a place in a non-preferred school or received no offer at all during the National supply days this year.

This total of 1,493 was an increase on the 1,426 in Kent who missed out in 2021. Most children have secured a place in their first preference school for this September, with those who missed out likely to get at least one of their preferences.

Medway children were the most likely to get their first preference spot for reception, at 91.8%, with 98% getting one of their top three choices. Those applying for hospitality places in Kent were the least likely to get their first choice locally, although 90.2 per cent did so.

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For those applying for a secondary place, those in Kent were the most likely to miss out on their first choice, with just 79.6% of children successfully securing their first choice. In comparison, 79.7% of Medway children received a place for this month of September in their most preferred high school.

Across England, 83.3% of applicants for a secondary school place received an offer from their first-preference school on National Offer Day, March 1. Additionally, 94.4% received an offer from one of their top three preferences, according to published figures. by the Ministry of Education.

There were 614,059 applications for a high school place in 2022. This is the highest number of applications recorded since the numbers began in 2014.

At local authority level, the areas where children were most likely to get their first choice were Central Bedfordshire (98.2%), East Riding of Yorkshire (96.9%) and Rutland (96. 7%). Central Bedfordshire is the only local authority whose largest secondary entry point is Year 9, which the DfE covers.

The local authorities where children were least likely to get their first choice were Kensington & Chelsea (60.5%), Lewisham (62.0%) and Hammersmith & Fulham (62.1%). The DfE said in London that the higher number of practical options available to applicants and the ability to nominate six schools could encourage parents and guardians to make more speculative choices for their top preferences.

At primary level, 92.2% of applicants received an offer from their first-choice school on National Offer Day, April 16, up from 91.8% in 2021, with 98.4% getting one of their top three. There were 576,100 applications for a primary school place in 2021, a 0.8% drop from 2021 (which itself was a 5.1% drop from the 2020 figure) .

This may be due to lower birth rates meaning fewer children need places – there was a reduction in births in England from the end of 2016. in September 2022 were born between September 2017 and August 2018.

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In addition to this, the DfE said during the 2021 collection process, a number of local authorities said a higher than usual number of applications had been submitted late, meaning they were not counted in this year’s collection (which only covers offers made on the National Days offer). The application deadline was during the winter pandemic period, which may have prevented parents from submitting their applications on time, and there may be other factors reducing the number of applications, for example, an increase in number of parents choosing homeschooling.

As in previous years, the lowest rates of children obtaining their first place of preference are all in London – in Kensington and Chelsea (69.5%), Hammersmith & Fulham (81.0%) and Wandsworth (82.5 %). The only non-London local authority in the bottom ten was Windsor & Maidenhead (83.8%).

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