South Tyneside primary school places: 93% of parents get first choice

In South Tyneside 93% of parents have been allocated their first choice school place for their youngsters.

By Sue Kirby
Tuesday, 16 April, 2019, 13:45
Hartlepool youngsters are being allocated their primary school places today.

This year 1,640 children, 93%, received an offer of a place at their first choice of school across the borough.

A further 66 children, 4%, received their second choice of school and 13 youngsters, 1%, were given their third choice.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Borough Council said all children have been allocated a place for September, with 41 applicants, 2%, being given an alternative offer.

The figures are based on the applications which were made on time to the council and there were 1,760 applications received in total for South Tyneside residents only.

The statistics include the applications for both reception and Year 3 youngsters starting in September.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “It is encouraging that 98% of children in South Tyneside have been allocated a place at one of their requested schools.

"This year, we received and have responded to more than 1,700 applications, with all South Tyneside children offered a primary school place.

"Our School Admissions team makes 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 over-subscription criteria when a school has more applicants than places available.

"Parents are entitled to appeal the decision."

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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."