Parents' petition triggers Kent school admissions debate

Parents of children in the Maidstone area who were denied places at their three chosen primary schools have triggered a Kent County Council debate.

The families gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition demanding local places for local pupils, meaning a full council debate will be held.

Last month, the BBC revealed more than 800 pupils were denied their choice of schools with urban areas worst-hit.

Council leader Paul Carter said allocation figures were improving.

Katie Smith from the campaign group School Allocation Trouble (SAT) said there was a crisis in Bearsted and surrounding areas.

Her daughter did not get into any of her chosen three schools.

'Not exact science'

She said parents realised a number of families were affected in the area and began a campaign, which attracted 12,000 signatures.

The campaigners were now waiting to hear when the full council debate would be held, she added.

Councillor Carter said: "I feel enormously for those parents, particularly those parents in the Bearsted and Grove Green community."

And he added: "The pressure on places in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone and broadly mid and west Kent are an issue.

"Admissions is not an exact science. Until parents express their preference, you don't know exactly how the dust is going to settle.

"It's very difficult to work out the complexities of sibling links."

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