Fewer Families Offered First Choice Secondary School: According to new research, one in seven families failed to achieve a place for their first choice school last year, and a quarter of those did not receive an offer for any of their preferred schools. In real terms, that is approximately 19,000 children who did not receive an offer for any of their schools, and 76,000 who did not get a place at their first choice.
This trend is not a new one. Analysis from the New Schools Network suggests that the potential chance of securing a place at your first choice school has declined in each of the three years previous – and with the number of 11 year old children 20,000 higher than last years, it is unlikely that that trend will change in the coming weeks, as the results of this year’s school allocation are announced.
Those living in cities and larger urban conurbations are more likely to miss out – in London and Birmingham, more than a quarter of children miss out on their first choice school. This is compared to the North East and South-west, where fewer than a tenth do not get their first choice option.
Perhaps worryingly, most new places are being created in schools which are getting worse. Over the past four years, 42,000 (more than half) of the 79,000 places created in expanding institutions have been created in schools with worsening GCSE results. Almost 14,000 places in the last four years have been created in schools rated as failing by Ofsted.
The findings come in the wake of the news that several Councils (at least 17) are at least considering creating new ‘Super Schools’ – schools with between 12 and 16 classes in each year group and with a total school population of between 2000 and 4000 pupils. It is hoped that the addition of these places will allow Councils to cover the additional 80,000 secondary school places which it is predicted will be required in the next four years.
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