National Offer Day: 95% of Medway schoolchildren given preference secondary school place

Posted March 01, 2017

There is relief for most parents in Hampshire - as they find out this morning where their children are going to secondary school this September.

Today is national offers day and The Good Schools Guide predicted that the first choice success rate across Herts will drop. Past year 84.1% of pupils were offered a place at their first choice of secondary, down 0.1 of a percentage point from 2015.

"It's important for families that their children can attend a good local school, and today's figures show that we continue to meet their needs".

Only 1.5 per cent did not get into a preferred school and instead have been allocated either their catchment area school or nearest school to home with a place available.

Out of the 19,442 applications received, 2,745 of these were from parents who do not live in Kent, and about a third of this number secured an offer of a Kent school.

The school admissions process for Medway is a huge task and involves the council's student services admissions team processing secondary school applications for 3,799 children in total, including 625 out of area children.

Analysis of Department for Education (DfE) data by the Press Association suggests that last year, 80 out of 151 local councils (53%) saw a drop in the proportion of children given their first choice of secondary school compared with the year before.

"However, as children move on to secondary schools, the majority of which are now academies, councils are working with one hand behind their backs to help as many as possible receive a place at their first-choice school".

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: "The massive increase in pupil numbers over the next few years, particularly at secondary age, will only make it harder".

"There is a desperate need for long-term planning that spans all sectors".

Councillor John Holdich, leader of the council and cabinet member for education, skills and university, said: "Secondary school is a big milestone in a child's life and it's fantastic to see that nearly nine out of every 10 children have been offered places at their first preference".

However, if you are not happy, you have the right to appeal - and your child will be added to a waiting list for your preferred school. This is despite an increase in the number of applicants for places this year.

This has meant growing pressure on places in some parts of the city and that is set to grow again in the next two years. One reason for this situation is that new free schools are not always opened in the areas of greatest demographic need, especially at secondary level.

The government said it was creating 600,000 new school places.