Thousands miss out on secondary school choice

17 March, 2011

Secondary school choices

84.6% of children received an offer at their first-choice school

New figures have shown that more than 79,000 children have missed out on getting a place at their first-choice secondary school for September this year.

The number is lower than the 88,000 who were turned away last year, although the Government admitted that there were “far fewer” applications made this year for a similar number of secondary school places.

According to Nick Gibb, the schools minister, around one in six youngsters will start at a secondary school later this year which was not their top choice.

And the figures showed that around 22,000 children did not even make it into any of schools that featured in their top three preferences.

Parents should not despair if their child has not got a place in their first-choice secondary school, as there are many other alternatives, including getting private tuition for children.

Mr Gibb said:”These figures expose the fact that there simply aren’t enough good schools. Too many parents are forced to choose between schools which don’t deliver the academic standards and good behaviour they demand.”

The statistics break down the secondary school offers made to more than 512,000 children by 151 local authorities in England on March 1.

Nationally, 84.6% of children received an offer at their first-choice school. This is up 1.4% on last year.

Some 95.6% of youngsters were offered a place at one of their three preferred schools – a 0.7% increase on 2010.

But there was a significant drop in the number of pupils applying this year as numbers fell by 17,500 on 2010, while there were 1,200 fewer places available.

Admitting that the school system in England had “fallen behind” other leading countries during the past decade, Mr Gibb said: “Only when every school is regarded by parents as a good school will we be able to remove the anxiety parents suffer when choosing a school for their children.”