Population bulge prompts fall in proportion of pupils receiving first choice secondary place

But new Department for Education figures show the proportion of pupils receiving their first choice of primary school place has risen

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A smaller proportion of pupils were given one of their top choices for a secondary school place compared to last year, according to new government figures.

This year, 83.5 per cent of pupils received their first choice of secondary school, compared to 84.1 per cent in 2016.

The Department for Education statistics also show that the proportion of pupils given one of their top three choices for a secondary school place dropped from 95 per cent last year to 94.6 per cent.

The number of children applying for secondary places has risen to its highest level in almost a decade as the population bulge, which has been affecting primary schools in recent years, grows older.

In 2017, 562,487 applications for a secondary school place were received – an increase of 2.6 per cent on 2016 and the highest number of applications received since 2008.

'Vast majority' secure place at first-choice school

The proportion of children receiving their preferred choice of primary school has gone up. 

This year, 90 per cent of pupils received their first choice of primary school, compared to 88.4 per cent in 2016.

And the proportion of pupils given one of their top three choices for a primary school place rose from 96.3 per cent last year to 97.2 per cent.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The vast majority of parents continue to secure a place at their first choice of school for their child – 86.9 per cent this year – with more than 95 per cent having received offers at one of their top three choices.

“There are already 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than 2010. But we want to do more to ensure every child has access to a good school place.”

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