How families fared across Yorkshire on primary school offer day

Councillor Judith Blake
Councillor Judith Blake
0
Have your say

MORE families got into their first choice primary school across much of Yorkshire on national offer day but more than 1,500 children still missed out on all of their choices.

Parents and their children across the country were told this morning which school they had been allocated to from this September.

Figures show variations in the number of youngsters getting into their ideal choice both across the country and around the region.

In at least five local authority areas the numbers getting their top choice went up this year across Yorkshire.

Leeds had the lowest level of people getting into their first choice at 85 per cent. However this was in line with last year and it had more applications this year.

There were 550 children who were not allocated places at any of their five choices - five per cent of those who applied in the city.

Families are recommended to always include their nearest school as one of their preferences and to make sure they use all five preferences to get the best chance of being offered a preferred school.

However Leeds City Council said that of the 550 who were not allocated any of their preferences 427 did not follow the guidance to include their nearest school.

Coun Judith Blake, the authority’s executive member for children’s services said: “For parents and carers, choosing a school for their children is one of the most important decisions they will make.

“I am pleased we have been able to offer 95 percent of families one of their preferences.

“However, we do understand how disappointing and distressing it is when people aren’t allocated their preferred school. We encourage parents to make sure they include their nearest school and use all five preferences to increase their chances of obtaining a place at a local school.”

In Bradford 86 per cent of pupils got into their first choice school - slightly better than the previous year.

In Sheffield 89 per cent of applicants were allocated their first choice - up two per cent on last year.

The city council said it had a good record of planning including adding 4,500 additional places to local schools to meet parental preference amid a period of rapid population growth.

In Kirklees, 90.4 per cent of youngsters have got their first place while in Wakefield it was 91 per cent up slightly on last year. Hull saw one of the biggest increases with 92 per cent of children getting their first choice up three per cent on last year.

In North Yorkshire 94 per cent of pupils got into one of their schools which was the same as the previous year despite the authority handling 6,456 applications compared with 5,909 last year.

“We are very pleased that so many of our families have once again been able to gain their first preference from their choice of schools”, said Pete Dwyer, corporate director for the Children and Young People’s Service.

In the East Riding 95.6 per cent got into their first choice - 3,303 of the 3,454 people who applied.

In Doncaster 94 per cent of pupils will start in their first choice school.

The figures show that the overwhelming majority of parents in Yorkshire are still getting places at one of their choice of schools.

However there are concerns about the pressure being faced by the system in future years.

Last week town hall chiefs warned that more than half of areas nationally could have more primary school pupils than there are places available in just two years’ time.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said its analysis of official figures indicates that by September next year, two in five local authorities in England - 66 out of 152 - will have more children ready to start school than there are places.

It claimed that by 2017/18 this will increase to more than half (85 areas) and go up to three in five dealing with more pupils than places (94 areas) in 2018/19.

Findings from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) show that three-quarters of parents felt they had a genuine choice.

The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers has called for the end to a “Balkanised” school system to help councils manage places better.

Russell Hobby said that since 2011 the powers of local authorities have been cut because of the Government making decisions on the creation of free schools and academies” in isolation. He said: “With the massive increase in pupil numbers and overstretched budgets, now is not the time for inefficiency and conflict.” It echoes calls from the Local Government Association to give councils the power to decide where to open new schools.

Last week, town hall chiefs warned that more than half of areas could have more primary school pupils than there are places available in just two years’ time.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said its analysis of official figures indicates that by September next year, two in five local authorities in England - 66 out of 152 - will have more children ready to start school than there are places.

It claimed that by 2017/18 this will increase to more than half (85 areas) and go up to three in five dealing with more pupils than places (94 areas) in 2018/19.

Findings from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) show that three-quarters of parents felt they had a genuine choice.