School application numbers expose parents’ concerns (Updated)

OnTheWight has obtained the numbers of those applying to join each IW secondary school. There’s a lot of surprises in there.

September 2014 school applications graph

OnTheWight has obtained the number of Isle of Wight pupils who have applied this year to each of the Island’s secondary schools.

The numbers are very revealing, showing considerable drops at some of them.

Decisions to apply were made by pupils and parents towards the end of last year, so wouldn’t have been influenced by much of the good work that has been done at many of these schools to improve standards.

Two thirds of these schools have considerably smaller numbers of pupils seeking to join them than the number of places that were awarded last year. Applications to one school has dropped so considerably, they are only one in double digits.

Christ the King College heavily over-subscribed
Applications to join two Island schools have gone up. Applications to Medina College increased by nearly a fifth (19.87%). The other, Christ the King College (CtK), is 137% over-subscribed against its previous year’s capacity, somewhat lower than those in the Island teaching profession had originally understood.

CtK have announced, because of considerably increased demand, that they will increase capacity to 270 places this year. This looks as if it will still leave 59 pupils who applied to join CtK in September 2014 disappointed.

The largest drops
The biggest drop in applications is to Sandown Bay Academy, which has dropped by 42%, falling from 229 to 132 – 97 less. In four years, the number of people applying to Sandown Bay have more than halved from 301 to 132.

The smallest number of applications is to Carisbrooke College, with only 78 pupils requesting to join the school, a drop of over 40% from the number of admissions in September 2013. Applications to the school are nearly a third (36%) of the levels of 2011 pupil numbers.

Total applications very similar
1,185 pupils were offered secondary school places in 2013. This year those numbers are down 4 to 1,189.

OnTheWight has recently posed a number of questions to the Isle of Wight council in connection to these figures and hope to being you the replies when we hear back. Update 28.Mar.14: IWC Press office let us know that council officers who can answer questions will not be available until next week.

Update 28.Mar.14 Added Isle of Wight Free School applications number into the mix, following request from readers. These new numbers changed the total applications numbers too.
12:48 Adjusted Ryde numbers 153, the figure the IW Council told OnTheWight, to 193, the figure Ryde just gave. This brought the difference in applicants down further to only 4.
17:50 Had to change another figure supplied by IW Council after The Island Free School comment that it was incorrect.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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18 Comments on "School application numbers expose parents’ concerns (Updated)"

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Old Knobby

This doesn’t tell the whole story though, what’s needed is the percentage of the whole number applying to each school and how that’s changed. If the overall number has dropped this year then perhaps the figures for Sandown aren’t quite as bad as they first appear, although the trend is obvious.


No surprises there then!


What about the free school? It is likely that they are part of the reason for the drops for Sandown.


Free School (Ventnor) v Sandown Bay (Lake)? Free school buses to Free school?

More likely the teaching chaos and poor results of Sandown Bay are prompting parents to choose education more wisely for their offspring.


Yes, I am sure the situation that the schools are in are affecting their numbers and pushing them to those doing better – CTK, those not under special measures, the private sector and the free school, as it doesn’t have any track record as yet.

Council figures are often First Preferences at the application closing date. I believe the free school was approved too late for a standard admissions round, and parents could apply direct AND apply with preferences elsewhere. Some parents miss the deadline, or move to the Island between application deadline and offer day. Schools will have current anticipated numbers, including second preference students. The preference system could also explain… Read more »
retired Hack
These are astonishing figures, and point to a huge over-capacity problem for the five non-church state schools. In four cases, the numbers applying are substantially lower than the intake in any of the previous three years, and even at Medina there is only a small recovery on the awful 2013 numbers. The Free School says it will take up to 125 Year 7 pupils, and had almost… Read more »
The Island Free School

I am afraid these figures are not accurate.
The Island Free School received 167 applications for 125 places.

The 120 quoted is the number of places at our school accepted by the deadline last Sunday.

The remaining 5 places have now been offered to families on our waiting list.

Sally Perry

Thanks for the update. The figures were provided to us by the Isle of Wight council press office. As you’ll see from the article edits above, yours weren’t the only ones they got wrong.


Sally, I am staggered you agree that the figures are not accurate, but still keep the article alive! What kind of journalism is this where you accept the facts are wrong? Tabloid journalism I think. what a shame

Sally Perry

I was not/am not able to get to the data sheets to update Simon’s article and was commenting from my phone. Simon is in the process of correcting the council’s errors as I type.

Cllr Chris Whitehouse
Sally, Congratulations on getting these figures (errors and all!) because elected Members have been asking for them for weeks and have still not received them even though you obtained them from the Press Office. At this stage it is unclear why Members have not been supplied them (error or conspiracy) but it is outrageous that we are denied access to information from one part of the council… Read more »
Sally Perry

It’s Simon you must congratulate, as it was he who wrote the article and requested the data. As to why you haven’t received the data you’ve requested, who knows?


You can’t get much more “out in the open” than issuing figures to the media. As Sally indicated, who knows the whys and wherefores of why Chris Whitehouse hasn’t got them. He has proved quick to shout ‘Fire!’ before, and everything IWC officers and Indies do is “Outrageous” to him, so I’m not holding my breath.

jane nash

I would be interested to know,as grandparent of a Year 5 child, how many applications from Ventnor were successful. I understand only 45% of the intake was for
local children.


Looking at Sandown, if the numbers continue like this, as well as the staff having to be reviewed, I would imagine the facilities will have to be too, as the old Sandham site will be surplus to requirements in a year or two.


Sandham site= 3.7 ha (approx. At up to £2 million/ha for housing development might yield £7.4 million. Planning permission would be a doddle given its location.

Could be a nice little earner for AET seeing that it was apparently gifted the land gratis by the last IWC?

To realise the potential all it needs is an excuse, say “Falling pupils numbers”?

Mark Francis

Churches must be packed out every Sunday then?