Primary places: ‘Nearly all’ South Tyneside families offered preferred place

South Shields Town Hall.
South Shields Town Hall.
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Almost all parents were given their first choice of school places for their youngsters, education chiefs have revealed.

Families across South Tyneside have found out where their children will be educated at primary, infant and junior schools from September.

It is really encouraging that nine out of 10 children in South Tyneside have been successful in receiving their first choice primary school place and that 95 per cent of children have been allocated to one of the schools requested.

Councillor Joan Atkinson

Figures from the council show that of the 1,856 applications received by South Tyneside Council, 1,677 – 90% – were given their first choice.

Sixty-nine – 4% - were given their second option and 19 – 1% – were offered their third choice.

The 91 families who did not get their chosen preference are given an alternative offer from the authority, with all South Tyneside children offered a place.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families, said: “It is really encouraging that nine out of 10 children in South Tyneside have been successful in receiving their first choice primary school place and that 95 per cent of children have been allocated to one of the schools requested.

“This year, we have received and responded to more than 1,800 applications for primary school places in the borough with all South Tyneside children offered a school place.

“We make every effort to offer children a place at their first choice of school, but this depends on the number of places available and how closely each pupil meets the oversubscription criteria when a school has more applicants than places available.”

The figures for the borough reflect the national response to applications.

There have been concerns raised by the Local Government Association about the demand for spaces in schools.

The Government spent £5billion creating places between 2011 and 2015 and 95.9% of parents received an offer at one of their top three preferred primary schools last year, the Department for Education said.

A spokesman added: “Despite rising pupil numbers, at primary, the number of pupils in excess of their school’s capacity has fallen by a quarter since 2010, and average class sizes have seen little change,” a spokesman said.

“Of course there is more to do – that’s why this Government has already committed to invest a further £7billion to support councils in delivering school places, which along with our investment in 500 new free schools we expect to deliver 600,000 new places by 2021.

Parents can go through the appeals process if they wish to query the decision about their child’s school place.

Anyone who would like to discuss the issue can call the council’s school admissions team on (0191) 424 7706 for further information.