Kent schools criticised for low year intake

Five Kent schools have been criticised for taking in fewer than half the number of pupils they can hold.

Marlowe Academy, High Weald Academy, Walmer Science College, Hextable School and Pent Valley Technology College have a year seven intake of less than 50%.

Former Kent headteacher Peter Read, who obtained the figures, blamed poor Ofsted reports, with three of the schools rated as "inadequate".

Kent County Council said "spare capacity" allows parents flexibility.

Sixty extra grammar school places for boys are to be created in west Kent, after the county council asked two schools in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells to take an extra year seven class each.

Mr Read, who offers advice to parents who wish to appeal against unsuccessful school applications, said he believes parents are "voting with their feet".

He said: "If one looks at several of those schools, they've been put on special measures, they've failed Ofsted. There are a number of measures which explain why they are so unpopular with residents."

Alan Brookes, who is the headteacher of Hextable School in Swanley, said schools need to improve results to increase occupancy rates.

"The main thing to do is to improve examination results and already this year we've made massive strides towards that," he said.

"We're looking for a very good set of results in year 11 and that will impact on the number of parents that want to send their students to us."

Mike Whiting, who is the cabinet member for education at Kent County Council, added: "Across the county we look to have a certain amount of spare capacity which allows parents a degree of flexibility in the choices they make.

"The way out of this for all schools is to improve their exam results, improve their Ofsted results and then parents would be attracted to them."

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