Primary school places: 86 per cent offered first choice in Herts

PUBLISHED: 16:59 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:20 16 April 2018

Just under 95 per cent were offered their first-choice primary school place in Cambridgeshire, and 86 per cent received the same news in Hertfordshire. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Just under 95 per cent were offered their first-choice primary school place in Cambridgeshire, and 86 per cent received the same news in Hertfordshire. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Hertfordshire primary school places have been allocated today – with 86 per cent offered their first choice.

Of the 14,389 applications for reception places received for Hertfordshire children, 13,938 – 97 per cent – have been allocated a ranked primary school. Of these over 86 per cent (12,416) were allocated their first ranked school – compared to under 85 per cent last year.

The number of parents and guardians getting their first choice was up by one per cent on last year.

Taking into account allocations to junior and middle schools, 17,264 Hertfordshire families will be informed of their offer of a school place today or tomorrow – with those who have confirmed their email address being sent their allocations this afternoon.

Jenny Coles, director of children’s services at Herts County Council, said: “Starting primary or moving on to junior and middle school is an important step and we work extremely hard to make the applications and allocation process smooth and straightforward. We want all children to have access to a good education so they can reach their full potential, with the right number of school places in the right location, so I’m delighted that the vast majority of children have been allocated one of their ranked schools.

“This is a considerable challenge given the significant growth in primary school population over the last decade. However, we are committed to ensuring that where the county’s population grows we build the appropriate infrastructure and have spent more than £200 million since 2010 to provide more than 3,800 additional reception places.

“We are also working alongside free schools and academies to attract extra funding for more school places where they are most needed.

“While I appreciate that a small number of parents may be disappointed with the school they have been allocated, I would encourage them to visit the school and speak to the headteacher before dismissing the offered place. They may be pleasantly surprised by what they see.”

All applicants who have not been offered their first preference school will automatically be placed on the continuing interest list for any Herts schools named higher on the application form than the school offered.

School places must be accepted by April 30. This is also the last date to ‘opt out’ of continuing interest. The deadline to submit an appeal is 4pm on May 18.

It was a similar story in Central Bedfordshire, where 96 per cent of the 3,370 pupils who applied for a place at a lower or primary school in the area were granted their first preference. That was 0.04 up on last year, and two per cent higher than 2016.

Of the 2,317 Central Bedfordshire pupils transferring to middle school, 95.7 per cent were offered their first preference – 1.3 per cent up on last year.

Councillor Steven Dixon, executive member for families, education and children at Central Beds Council, said: “I know that this is always a nervous time of year for many families so I am delighted that so many of them have received their first-preference school.

“This is down to a lot of hard work by many different teams at the council – from our admissions team processing thousands of applications each year, to those teams responsible for ensuring that we continue to create additional school places in areas of need.

“That is reflected in the fact that the number of children achieving their first-preference school continues to rise year on year.”

Like in Herts, anyone who wishes to change the place their child has been offered needs to submit a change of preference form by April 30. These will then be considered – along with any late applications – on Monday, 4 June.

For more on Herts allocations visit hertfordshire.gov.uk/primaryoptions and see centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/school/admissions/2018/starting-school/offers.aspx for Bedfordshire.

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