Saturday, September 30, 2023

Harris Chafford top league for school places bids as Grays Convent hit rock bottom

HARRIS Academy continues to be the most popular school in Thurrock, judging by the number of parents who applied for their child to attend their in September 2014.

Harris had 542 more applications than places available. Knowing how competitive the schools are, we will point out that William Edwards had the most applications with 740, 18 more that Harris in Chafford Hundred.

Infact, the list of applications seems to indicate that parents seem to see two tiers of schools in Thurrock. As you can see below, Harris, William Edwards, Gable Hall and St Cleres are very popular.

But there is quite a gap until you come to Hassenbrook Academy, who head the ‘second tier” where 300 applied for 110 places on offer.

Grays Covent seems to have problems with its “brand” as it had the fewest amount of applications of any school in Thurrock. The school only received 153 applications. Only a few years ago, William Edward were bemoaning the number of students walking away from their catchment area and off to the Convent. Now, judging by the 740 applications that William Edwards received, it is a very different picture.

Many will raise an eyebrow at the fact that Ormiston Park Academy is the only school that is undersubscribed however as long as their owners (The Ormiston Trust) are happy and the school retains its brand identity then it should be fine.

You may notice that we use the word brand and couch our article in the language of the market. For many the popularity of Harris Academy is further proof that they should be able to build upon their success and build a second senior school in the west of the borough.

The consequences could be dire for Ockendon Academy, Hathaway Academy and other schools. However, many say that they all decided to rebrand themselves as quasi-businesses and so, knew or should have known the consequences or possible consequences.

The list is as follows

1. Harris Academy: 722 applied for 180 places (542)
2. William Edwards: 740 applied for 240 places (500)
3. Gable Hall: 672 applied for 242 places (430)
4. St Cleres: 630 applied for 201 places (429)

5. Hassenbrook: 300 applied for 110 places (190)
6. Gateway Academy: 357 applied for 210 places (137)
7. Hathaway Academy: 276 applied for 180 places.(96)
8. Ockendon Academy: 310 applied for 245 places. (65)
9. Grays Convent: 153 applied for 124 places. (29)
10. Ormiston Park Academy: 168 applied for 186 places. (-12)


  1. Very interesting data: thank you. However, slightly misleading headline to this article: looks to me as if Ormiston Park Academy are “rock bottom” as the only secondary school in Thurrock which is not oversubscribed. And the Convent shows 29 disappointed families who were hoping to get their girls into the school. 9 out of 10 schools oversubscribed shows that families are appreciating the improvements in Thurrock secondary education.

  2. Hello Reem.

    Rock Bottom referred to the number of applications made. On that basis, Grays Covent had 153 applications and OPA had 168 however, we take your point.

    We await the data on first choices with interest

  3. Can i point out that Ormiston Park is infact based in a village where the number of applications is most likely based on the people living in that area. Grays is a town and im sure has a substantial amount more children living there than in Aveley and its surrounding areas which is why it has more choice of schools available. Having a child that attends Ormiston (who is currently above all the required targets set ) and having seen the rebuilding of the site and the cutting edge facilities it now provides – I cannot help but wonder if the undersubscription will change once the 400 new houses which are presently being built in the area are occupied. Maybe the parents who did not get a space for their children at these schools should consider giving OPA a look.

  4. so the harris academy on chafford could have filled its classes four times [if my maths is correct] over,what does ECM think of that?.

  5. I would be interested to know how many children in Harris cachment area don’t get a space given there are only 180 spaces.

  6. I’m struggling to understand what these figures tell anyone apart from the fact that it looks as though Thurrock schools don’t have enough places to go round.

    This fact was already known. It has nothing to do with people from outside the borough clamouring to get their children into the schools because of the standard of education and everything to do with the fact that the school infrastructure has not coped with the influx of people into Thurrock.

    This can be said of all Thurrock’s infrastructure. In spite of these facts, the council continues to grant planning permission for ever more flats to house the hoards. Welcome to the London borough of Thurrock.


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