How Sunderland families fared with primary school places for September 2020

More than 90% of children in Sunderland have been awarded a place at their top preference primary school.

Thursday, 16th April 2020, 6:55 pm
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 3:19 pm
Picture c/o PA

Families across the country have been finding out where their youngsters are due to start lessons from September.

And according to figures from Sunderland City Council, 2,726 pupils have been handed a spot at their first choice option.

This is equivalent to 93.4% of all applications, a slight fall on 2019 outcomes, but also above the national average of 90.6% in 2019 (the most recent figure available).

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Data shows 122 families will have to settle for their second preference, while 26 were told they had been accepted for their third choice option.

A further 44 have not yet been allocated a place for September, although city chiefs added this could be due to families only applying for a single school.

There are currently 75 infant and primary schools operating in Sunderland.

Children must be in full-time education by the time they reach ‘compulsory school age’ – whichever comes first out of December 31, March 31 or August 31 following a child’s fifth birthday.

Louise Farthing, cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said: “The vast majority of parents and carers in Sunderland have once again got their first primary school choice.

“Parents and carers have a right to appeal to an independent appeals panel who will consider their individual reasons and make a decision on whether to uphold the appeal or not.

“The council is awaiting further guidance from the Government and examining how this appeals process can be safely followed during the coronavirus outbreak.”

England's school system has been put under pressure in recent years due to a rise in the school-age population.

This has been fuelled by a spike in the birth rate in the early 2000s that has now made its way through primary schools and is moving into secondary schools.

The Department for Education has changed its rules this year amid the coronavirus pandemic so that parents unhappy with their school place will not have to make an appeal in person.

Appeal panel hearings will be able to take place "in person, by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal".

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said feelings of anxiety among families waiting to find out whether their child has secured their first choice of school will be "heightened by the confusion and uncertainty caused by coronavirus".

In numbers:

2020

Children accepted into their first choice primary school place for September 2020 – 2,726 / 93.4 per cent Children accepted into their second choice primary school place for September 2020 – 122 / 4.2 per cent Children accepted into their third choice primary school place for September 2020 – 26 / 0.9 per cent Children not allocated any place for September 2020 – 44 / 1.5 per cent

2019

Children accepted into their first choice primary school place for September 2020 – 2,750 / 95 per cent Children accepted into their second choice primary school place for September 2020 – 95 / 3.3 per cent Children accepted into their third choice primary school place for September 2020 – 13 / 0.5 per cent Children not allocated any place for September 2020 – 34 / 1.2 per cent