Popular schools are to be encouraged to expand as part of a drive to cut class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds, school standards minister Stephen Byers announced on Monday.
Parents had been concerned the plans would mean children would be turned away from popular schools and forced to fill surplus places elsewhere. However, Mr Byers said parents would be able to object if they thought local authority plans would damage their children's education.
He said: "The Government's key pledge to cut infant class sizes will be met by expanding schools offering high quality education and by enhancing parental choice. In the longer term, local authorities should seek to increase the proportion of provision in successful schools."
Special protection is to be given to small village schools.