More than 87% of Sunderland children get their first choice secondary school place on National Offer Day

More than 87% of children going into secondary school education in Sunderland this year have got their first choice school.

By David Allison
Friday, 01 March, 2019, 12:20
Children in a classroom.

The city's council says that out of 3,071 children who applied for a place this year, 2,679 or 87.2% have got a place at their preferred school.

A total of 204 children, or 6.6% got their second choice, while 50 youngsters, or 1.6% got their third place.

A total of 138 children have not been allocated a place at a secondary school to start in September.

Cabinet member for children, learning and skills at Sunderland City Council Councillor Louise Farthing said: “We work hard with parents and schools to make sure that the vast majority of families get their first preference of school wherever possible.

“This September will see the biggest secondary school admissions year group for some time, and 95.5% of pupils will have been allocated one of their three possible schools on their application.

“Notifications will been sent to parents with online admissions accounts.

"For those still seeking school places, information about the appeals process and the options that are still available will be in the notification letter sent to families where it has not been possible to offer a place at the schools on their application.”

Over 5,000 children in County Durham will go to their first choice of secondary school this September.

A total of 5,485 applications were made this year, up from 5,162 in 2018, and every single child has been offered a place at a school in the county.

Out of these applicants 5,143 have been successfully placed into their first choice, which equates to 93.8%.

Overall 98.3% of children have been placed in their first, second or third choice school.

Councillor Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “It is fantastic that the vast majority of children in County Durham will go to their first choice of secondary school in September.

"I wish them the best of luck for their future education.”

Parents who applied online will be informed of the school place offered via email.

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Those who applied in other ways will be informed via a letter by Tuesday, March 5.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "Transferring to secondary school can be an anxious time for pupils and parents.

"The last thing any family needs is a worry about whether there will be enough places in a good local school to go round.

"Unfortunately Government policy since 2010 makes that more unlikely.

"Responsibility for planning school places and overseeing admissions should be returned to the democratic oversight of local authorities so they can plan and provide enough school places where they are needed.

"They also need the power to direct all schools - including academies and free schools - to expand where necessary.

"In addition, the Government must prioritise capital investment in the school system so that where new schools are needed, there is funding available to build them."

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "Today is a significant milestone for thousands of parents and children finding out which secondary school they will be attending from September.

"This Government is determined to create more choice for parents when it comes to their children's education and we have created 825,000 school places since 2010, and are on track to see that number rise to a million by 2020.

"Standards have also risen, with 86% of schools now good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010, and last year more than nine out of 10 pupils got a place at one of their top three choices, setting them on the path for a successful future."

Based on analysis of birth rates and the number of children leaving primary school, the Good Schools Guide estimates 606,000 applied for places this year - an increase of 23,000 on 2018.

According to the Association of School and College Leaders, the number of pupils in secondary schools is rising and is expected to increase by 428,000 over the next seven years.

Last year, the proportion of children missing out on a place at their top choice of secondary school rose for the fifth year in a row, according to Government figures,

Only 82.1% of 11-year-olds in England received an offer from their desired school - meaning 17.9% missed out.