Sunderland primary school places: 95% of parents get their first choice

In Sunderland 95% of primary youngsters have clinched their first choice school place.

By Sue Kirby
Tuesday, 16 April, 2019, 11:28
Children get their school places today.

Today parents across the country are finding out if they have managed to get their first choice of primary school for their children.

In Sunderland 95% of children have been allocated their first choice place at one of the city's 83 primary schools.

Across the city 2,887 children applied for places at infant school to start in 2019 and 2,731, which is 95%, have clinched their first choice - the same percentage as last year.

A further 106 children, 3.7%, have been offered their second choice, compared to 3.3% last year.

And, 14 of the youngsters, 0.5%, have been offered their third choice, which is the same percentage as last year.

A total of 36 children have not yet been allocated a primary place for September, compared to 34 children at this stage last year.

And, in County Durham more than 95% of children will go to their first choice of primary school this September.

Out of the 5,165 applications received, 4,924 have been offered a place at their first choice school, 181 their second preference and 26 their third.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council, said: "The vast majority of parents and carers in Sunderland all get their first primary school choice.

"If it has not been possible to do this, then information about the appeals process is within their notification letter.

"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.

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"Applications received where the council hasn't been able to offer any of the schools that have been applied for, can be because only one preference was received."

Richard Crane, Durham County Council’s head of education and skills, said: “For many parents it can be a daunting time when their sons and daughters are starting school, so we are pleased to be able to offer so many children their first choice.”

Hundreds of thousands of four and five-year-olds across England are set to be allotted school places, on what is commonly known as National Offer Day.

Department for Education figures showed 91% of primary pupils were offered their first choice in 2018, while 97.7% were offered one of their top three choices.

Ministers said the number of children being offered their first choice of primary school had been improving since 2014.

However, heads warned that the offers system was not working properly in some areas.

National Association of Head Teachers' general secretary, Paul Whiteman, said: "Local authorities are responsible for ensuring sufficient school places, but the powers and resources necessary for them to do so have been removed.

"Instead, planning is haphazard; decisions are being made in isolation and new schools and new school places are not always being commissioned in the areas they are most needed."

School standards minister Nick Gibb, said: "Any school place offer day is a big event for families, but parents should be reassured that the improvement in the school system means that they would probably find the schools themselves unrecognisable from a generation ago.

"Even in instances where parents aren't getting the news they hoped for today, the likelihood is that their child will be attending a school which will provide a first-class education."