1,000 pupils hit by squeeze on school places

A squeeze on school places is continuing in Leeds amid a soaring population.
A squeeze on school places is continuing in Leeds amid a soaring population.
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More than 1,000 pupils in Leeds missed out on their first choice of secondary school as the city continues to battle a squeeze on places amid a soaring population.

Despite 112 more pupils being offered their first choice school in September than the previous year, there has been a slight dip in the overall percentage from 85 per cent to 82 per cent.

However, Leeds City Council has made 8,881 Year 7 offers this year, an overall increase of 426– equivalent to an additional 14 classes – from 2017.

There have been mounting concerns about a squeeze on school places, caused in part by a recent rise in the birthrate, that is now seeing its way through into secondary schools.

It comes as families across the city find out which school they have been allocated from this September on National Offer Day.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families, said: “While I am pleased that we have been able to increase the number of young people attending their first preference school, this is getting more and more challenging to achieve as pupil numbers rise.

“The increase in primary school pupil numbers we have seen in the last 10 years is now starting to making itself felt in the secondary phase which is why we are bringing forward options for increasing the amount of secondary provision in some areas of the city.”

A total of 7,290 youngsters in Leeds managed to secure their first choice, however 1,117 pupils missed out on their first preference and 474 were allocated schools which they had not chosen.

Despite the growing demand, the city council has seen an increase in the number of children getting into one of their top five preferred schools, rising by 231 from 8,176 last year to 8,407.

However, the number of children not getting a place at any of their five preferred schools was 474, up from 279 last year. All have been made alternative offers.