A school in EK may well start the year with spaces in Y7, in fact it is quite possible with some school's as they can not offer to children who are not assessed with the correct ability (here we could enter the WK / EK / OOC debate about tutoring / preperation etc. etc. because it does have an impact on numbers being assessed G / H where parents are less clued up about education - it does
happen) and why should a panel allow appeals if the child would struggle? Of course the school want to fill their places and there are a significant number of places offered at these school's on appeal to children who have evidenced
suitable ability but were not masters of NVR / VR tests, having perfected the techniques
I would be considering how important a 'Grammar' education is before thinking about sending a child on a very long journey to school. Shouldn't the decision be based on which school
is best, not accepting whatever is left of those GS's if that school isn't suitable for the DC? From experience I have found that some of the EK GS's which had a number of spaces actually perform very well, holding respectable league table positions and have glowing Ofsted reports when taking the time to look in depth at them. Finally how you 'feel' about the school when you visit it is a factor. On that basis I might lean towards allowing DC to travel a distance but not because it is a Grammar School
As for 'Spare Spaces', time will tell if these become so large that the school have no choice but to reduce their PAN because of lack of demand.....