Parents to get school places news

Published: Thursday 16th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Families across England are waking up to learn whether their child has won a place at a favoured primary school.

Councils are today sending out details of where more than half a million four and five-year-olds will be attending school from this September.

But while for many parents National Offer Day will bring joy and relief, others are likely to experience disappointment.

Early results from a Press Association survey of local councils suggests that in some areas, around one in 10 youngsters have not been offered their first choice, while in others, the figure is around one in six.

A continuing squeeze on places – particularly at primary level – fuelled in part by a rising birth rate in recent years, combined with the effect of immigration in some areas – means that some parts of England are still struggling to accommodate every child.

Initial figures show that in Kirklees, 90.4% of youngsters have got their first place, along with 90% in Oldham.

In East Sussex, 84.68% got their first choice, while in Southampton the percentage was 85.4%.

And in Kent it was 85.81% – this was up from 84.9% of infants in the county who got their top preference last year.

Patrick Leeson of Kent County Council said: “Our schools admissions team has been working hard, as usual, to ensure that as many pupils as possible get a school from among their preferred choices and we are pleased to see that the number of both first and second choices has increased.

“However, we will not lose sight of the fact that four per cent of pupils have not been given a school from their preferences.

“While many will secure places through waiting lists and reallocation, I am aware that this will be a difficult time and we will do what we can to offer a good outcome.

“Local authorities across England face significant challenges because of a lack of primary school places.

“In Kent, however, the combination of good forecasting, careful planning, and close working with schools means we are able to sustain a high proportion of children starting at a school of their preference.

“We are also creating hundreds of additional places – both for the start of the academic year 2015/16 and from September 2016.”

Jayne Ludlam of Sheffield City Council, where 89.69% got their top choice, said all children should have a good start in life and a significant way of achieving this is to give them access to the best possible education.

“This includes having the chance to attend good or outstanding schools in their local area,” she said.

She added: “Over the last few years we have been dealing with an unprecedented baby boom here in the city, which has placed enormous pressure on our local school places.

“However, we are aware of the issues and have been working hard with schools to address this pressure and we will continue to do so in coming years.”

Last year, 87.7% of youngsters were were awarded a place at their first-choice school, according to national figures for England, indicating that about 76,600 children lost out on their top pick.

Published: Thursday 16th April 2015 by The News Editor

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