Fewer students start primary school this year as more get first choice – survey

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Fewer children are expected to start primary school in most parts of England this year, but a higher proportion are gaining places in their first choice of school, a survey has found.

Hundreds of thousands of families across England are finding out which primary school they will join this autumn, on what is commonly known as National Offering Day.

Early results from a Palestinian Authority News Agency survey of local authorities show that a child’s chances of getting a place in the school of their choice vary greatly depending on where in the country they are. where he lives.

On Tuesday afternoon, 45 of the 71 councils in England, excluding London, which reported data saw an increase in the number of children securing their favorite school compared to 2021.

Children find out which school they will go to (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(PA Archive)

Overall, 88% of children in London who are due to start primary school in September have received an offer of their first preference, an increase of 0.5% on last year.

Kensington and Chelsea had the lowest proportion of children getting their first choice at 69.5%, down from 66.4% last year.

Elsewhere in the country, big increases in first picks accepted were seen in Lincolnshire which saw an increase of just under 10%, as well as Newcastle at 5.47%, Bristol at 3.37% and Middlesbrough which rose 3.2%.

Southend-On-Sea in Essex saw an increase of just over 4%, Wokingham saw an increase of just under 5% and Bath and North East Somerset rose by 4.67% .

Leicester City Council said a record 96.3% of children were offered a place according to their first preference.

Meanwhile, a fall of -2.17% on last year was reported in Warwickshire, while figures of -2.08% and -1.72% were seen in South Tyneside respectively and Oxfordshire.

A drop of -2.67% recorded at Hartlepool and a drop of just under -5% at Salford were also among the largest recorded.

Among the areas where high proportions of pupils got their first preference are North East Lincolnshire, where 97.11% got their first choice, and Middlesbrough, which is 98.15%.

Just over 97% of children in Northumberland had their first choice accepted.

Elsewhere, 87% of children got their first preference in Hertfordshire, while in Southend-on-Sea 88.5% got their first choice, despite an increase from 85% in 2021.

A youngster’s chances depend on their location (Danny Lawson/PA)

(PA Archive)

Only 84.9% got their first choice in Windsor and Maidenhead.

Most local authorities have seen a drop in the overall number of children getting their first choice due to fewer applicants.

Schools in Stoke-on-Trent were among those that reported a weaker cohort this year, compared to 2021.

Primary schools in the capital received a total of 89,618 applications this year, down 1.3 percent from last year.

Gail Tolley, Chair of the Pan-London Admissions Board, said: “Starting primary school for the first time is a big milestone for every child.

“This year the admissions process has been smooth and almost 88,000 parents will be offered a preferred school place in the capital – including almost 79,000 for their first preference school.

“London boroughs are working effectively with local primary schools and other partners in the capital to ensure school places are available where they are needed, as demand can vary even within individual boroughs.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the head teachers’ union NAHT, which represents the majority of primary school heads in England, said: “This can be a stressful time for families. Choosing the right school and securing a place there is an important moment in a child’s life and not everyone will have their first choice today.

“Support needs to be in place for families to navigate what can be a daunting process. For families who do not get their first choice of school, the appeal process will continue.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: ‘Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important things a parent will do and this time of year can be extremely stressful. Everyone wants their child to be in a school where they can be happy, safe and reach their full potential.

“Councils have also responded to growing demand with the creation of hundreds of thousands of new places in recent years. It is a demonstrable record that they are doing everything they can to meet the challenge of ensuring that no child is left without a place.

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