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Record year for Worcestershire children securing first choice school places
MORE children in Worcestershire than ever before secured places at their first choice secondary school.
Parents across the county received emails or letters today confirming whether or not their children had received offers from their three preferred high schools for this September.
This year, 5,524 applications were submitted to the authority, 5,248 or 95 per cent of which received an offer from their first choice secondary school. In 2012, 94.5 per cent of 5,475 applications achieved the same.
About 2.75 per cent of pupils were offered places at their second choice school, roughly 0.6 per cent were accepted into their third choice and about 1.6 per cent did not secure places at any of their preferred schools.
The figures were roughly in line with last year, where 2.65 per cent of children received offers from their second choice, about one per cent secured a place at their third choice and 1.8 per cent were not offered places at any of their preferred schools.
Meanwhile, the number of applications submitted online more than doubled this year, with 89 per cent of parents in 2013 choosing to go digital compared to 41 per cent in 2012.
A spokesman at the Department for Education said statistics giving the national picture would not be available until the end of March.
However, Councillor Jane Potter, cabinet member for education and skills at Worcestershire County Council, said she was hopeful the authority would fare well nationally.
She said: “This year, 95 per cent of children received offers from their first choice secondary school and this is the highest it’s ever been.
“We don’t know what the national figure is yet, but last year it was about 84 per cent and we were above that. Hopefully, we’ll be above again this year.
“It’s been very quiet - we’ve had one or two queries, but not many. An email was sent out just after midnight so parents didn’t have to wait for a letter in the post.
“We do have sufficient places for secondary level and a demographic drop is just starting where fewer children of that age will be coming through the system for the next few years. Having better systems as well has also helped the process and that’s a more efficient way.”
A DfE spokesman said every parent should have the choice of a good school for their child and its reforms will “drive up standards” and create more good schools.
He said: “We are turning around under-performing schools by allowing outstanding sponsors to lead them.
“We are giving heads and teachers the freedom to do even better. We are introducing a rigorous new curriculum and tough new exams that will match the world’s best. And we are allowing good schools to expand and offer more places.”