Yorkshire schools struggle to cope with squeeze on places

Pressures are mounting on Yorkshire's schools which are struggling to cope with a continuing squeeze on school places as the country's population continues to soar.

Thousands of pupils across the region managed to secure their first choice, however many faced disappointment as a result of schools being oversubscribed.

About 500,000 families across the country found out which secondary school they had been allocated from this September on National Offer Day. Thousands of pupils across the region managed to secure their first choice, however many faced disappointment as a result of schools being oversubscribed.

Councils have reported a sharp rise in the number of children coming through secondary schools as a spike in births since 2002 filters through from primary schools. The Government has said 750,000 extra places will be needed in England by 2025, and new schools are opening in Yorkshire to cope with demand.

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In Bradford just 74 per cent of 7,672 pupils were allocated their first choice secondary school, with 1,482 missing out on their preferred choice and 517 being allocated schools they had not chosen. But the number of families being given their first choice has risen by almost two per cent on last year despite Bradford Council receiving 185 more applications. The council is delivering a programme of secondary school expansions in the district to meet the rising demand for places.

Coun Imran Khan, the executive member for education, said: “As far as is possible the council is co-ordinating this programme with the Department for Education’s plans for new free schools to ensure pupil places are created in areas where there is demand.”

Out of 3,408 applications for places in Rotherham, 94 per cent have been given their first preference, which mirrors last year. The number of applications has risen from 3,319 and officials have planned to combat the rise with measures to create hundreds more secondary school places.

In Sheffield, 6,101 pupils are set to start secondary school in September, with 88 per cent being given their first choice, but 732 children missed out on their first preference. Two new schools are set to be built in the city and extra places will also be available from September 2018.

In York, where 92.3 per cent gained their first preference, the council said it had received 1,865 applications, up from 1,815 in 2016, while in Leeds there were 8,455 applications, compared to 8,301 the year before. Some 85 per cent of youngsters received their first choice, but 998 pupils missed out on their first preference.

Hull City Council received 3,010 applications - up from 2,956 last year - with 82 per cent of children being allocated their first school.