Hundreds of Calderdale children miss out on first-choice secondary school

Hundreds of Calderdale children miss out on first-choice secondary school
Hundreds of Calderdale children miss out on first-choice secondary school

Hundreds of Calderdale children have missed out on a place at their preferred secondary school this September, figures show.

School leaders warned that pressure on secondary schools is likely to intensify in the coming years, after the proportion of families in England having to settle for another school increased for the fourth year in a row.

Read: These are the 23 Outstanding schools in Calderdale, according to Ofsted ratings
Department for Education data shows 2,111 of the 2,429 secondary school applicants in Calderdale received an offer for their first-choice school for the coming academic year – a rate of 87 per cent.

This was down from 88 per cent the previous year.

A further five per cent of this year's applicants got their second choice and four per cent their third choice.

Overall, this means 96 per cent got one of their top three preferences, above the national average of 93 per cent.

However, 73 pupils – three per cent of the total – didn't get any of their preferred schools.

Parents could choose up to five schools, but didn't have to use all the options.

Across England, 81 per cent of applicants got into their first-choice school this year, down from 82 per cent the previous year.

The Department for Education said the rate was evidence of continuing success in the face of rising pupil numbers.

In Calderdale, applications have increased by four per cent over the last year, and by five per cent since 2014.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said pressure was likely to increase on schools over the next five years, with the number of secondary school pupils across England expected to rise by another 376,000.

“Additional school places will need to be planned carefully to match demographic need, but this is only one part of the picture," he said.

"We must ensure every family is able to access a place in a good local school wherever they live, and that they don’t feel the need to chase places in oversubscribed schools.

“The vital ingredients for success are more support for struggling schools, improved funding from the Government, and more action to tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis."

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: "Wherever they live and whatever their background, children deserve the best in education.

"Since 2010 we have created more school places and seen school standards rise, meaning there is a greater opportunity for pupils across the country to go to a good or outstanding school.

"Our school system has improved beyond recognition in the last nine years, which means that even the small minority of parents who didn’t get one of their top choices this year can feel confident their child will still get a world-leading education."