Home Children and Young People Allocation of places in Kirkby Secondary Schools
Need to know

Allocation of places in Kirkby Secondary Schools

by Gemma Melling

Friday 1 March 2024 is “School Offer Day”, when children and their families find out where they have been offered a secondary school place.

Whilst the large majority of children in Knowsley have secured places in their preferred schools, 49 children who requested places in Kirkby secondary schools – All Saints Catholic High School or Kirkby High School – have not secured a place at either school.

This should not have happened, and it does not need to be the case.

In the last few years, both All Saints High School and Kirkby High School have received a grading of “Good” from Ofsted. This has led to many more Kirkby families choosing these local schools as their preferred secondary schools and a reduction in the number of parents who choose schools outside Kirkby.  Both schools have set “Pupil Admission Numbers” (i.e. the number of children which they will accept each year) and they have both been oversubscribed by the number of applicants.

Knowsley Council has been engaging with both All Saints Catholic High School and Kirkby High School over the last year in order to make arrangements to offer more places at both sites.  The Council has offered both schools funding to support an increase in places.  The final decision rests with the schools themselves, and the Council has no power or ability to force either school to accept more children.

All Saints Catholic High School have agreed to increase their Pupil Admission Number by 5 places for September 2024 and Kirkby High School has agreed to increase their Pupil Admission Number by 4 places.  While the additional 9 places are welcome, that isn’t enough to meet the gap, and 49 pupils have been unable to secure a place at either school.  Knowsley Council is disappointed that both schools have decided not to increase their September 2024 intake any further and believes that both schools could and should have gone further to support local families.

The Council is committed to increasing access to education in Kirkby and had suggested a number of solutions to All Saints Catholic High School.  These include offering to fund the provision of modular build (temporary) classrooms to provide general teaching space pending a capital investment to create permanent additional space and an offer of financial support so that the school could take in more pupils in 2024.

The Council believes that both schools have the capacity to take additional pupils, particularly with the additional financial support which the Council will provide.  The Council made a substantial investment last year in Kirkby High School to provide additional specialist teaching areas.

Increasing capacity at either school should not impact on the quality of education.  The additional finances which are being offered would support leadership at the schools to provide the resource, staffing and organisation to manage the additional pupils effectively.

In both cases, any increase in the number of pupils would be supported by the correct amount of funding, as recommended by the Government, to make any changes to support an increase in pupils.

Unfortunately, Knowsley Council has no direct control or influence over pupil intake at either school.  All Saints Catholic High School is an Archdiocesan school and Kirkby High School is an Academy Trust, managed by The Rowan Trust.

If parents have been allocated a school which is not of their preference, they are encouraged to appeal.

Parents should refer to their allocation email/letter as this will include details of how to appeal, but there is also information on the Knowsley Council website.

Parents can also contact the Council’s School Admissions team via email at  schooladmissions@knowsley.gov.uk or by telephone on 0151 443 5142 / 5143 / 3372 (there is a voicemail facility if an officer is not immediately available).