Nearly 90% of South Tyneside children get first choice secondary school place on National Offer Day

Schoolchildren in a class.
Schoolchildren in a class.

Almost 90% of South Tyneside children have been given their preferred choice of secondary school for the next academic year.

Council chiefs say that 1,391 youngsters, working out at 89%, have their first choice of school to study their secondary education at.

Councillor Moira Smith.

Councillor Moira Smith.

It is up 1% on 2018.

One hundred children, which works out at 6%, got their second choice school while 13 or 1% were given their third choice school.

All parents who submitted an on time application for September 2019 have been offered a school place, which was the same situation as in 2018.

Councillor Moira Smith, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “This year, we have received and responded to more than 1,500 applications for secondary school places in the borough with all South Tyneside children offered a school place.

“It is pleasing that 96% of young people were allocated a place at one of their requested schools.

"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.

"Parents are entitled to appeal the decision.”

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.