School places handed out

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NEARLY 95 per cent of children in Sunderland have been granted their choice of secondary school place for September, new figures show.

Local education authorities across the country have been allocating places and Sunderland was one of the areas where the amount of students getting their chosen school was highest with 94.7 per cent.

Sunderland City Council also reported that 98 per cent of young people were offered one of the two choices on their application forms. This was slightly down from 2010 when 99.9 per cent of pupils got their first or second choice.

The number of applications for secondary school places for youngsters due to start in Year 7 in September was 2,779, a drop on last year’s figure of 2,887 applications.

Schools admissions policies are governed by strict rules on what criteria they are allowed to use to allocate places, including distance to travel from the child’s home.

The unhappy families of the current Year 6 children who have not been offered the secondary school of their choice can challenge the decision.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council, said: “No schools within Sunderland local authority use either random allocation or fair banding (where children are tested and placed in a variety of bands).

“The vast majority of parents and carers in Sunderland all got their first preference school. If it has not been possible to do this, then information about the appeals process is with their notification letter.

“Parents and carers have a legal 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.”

He said all parents were allocated a secondary place for their child even if it wasn’t one of their choices.

Primary schools places will be allocated to reception children on April 1.