Fewer Redbridge families secure first-choice primary school place

Redbridge has one of the lowest rates of families securing their first choice of primary school with

Redbridge has one of the lowest rates of families securing their first choice of primary school with 713 families missing out on their top pick. - Credit: PA

Nearly a fifth of Redbridge children missed out on gaining a place at their first-choice primary school, new figures show.

School leaders’ union the National Association of Headteachers says the anxiety for parents over not securing their preferred school this year will “only be heightened” by fear and uncertainty felt during the coronavirus pandemic.

Department for Education figures show that 81.7pc of children starting primary school in Redbridge this September received an offer from their first-choice school – one of the lowest rates in the country, and down from 83.5pc last year.

It means 713 families missed out on their top pick, as the number of applications to primary schools in the area fell by 1pc to 3,897.

Across England 90.2pc of Reception starters received an offer from their first-choice school, falling from 90.6pc last year.

Meanwhile, the proportion of pupils securing a place at their first-choice secondary school in Redbridge rose from 66.1pc last year to 68.5pc this year.

That was lower than the national rate, which increased from 80.9pc to 82.2pc over the same period.

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Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “The anxiety families are feeling, and the disappointment for those not getting their first choice, will only be heightened by the confusion and uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

“It is vital that no child going through the primary admissions process this year should be disadvantaged.

“For those families not getting their first choice of school, the appeals process must be as robust as ever and be made clear to parents.”

The Department for Education announced a temporary relaxing of the rules around school admission appeals at the end of April, meaning they do not have to be held face-to-face.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “The vast majority of parents have again received an offer from one of their top three preferences of primary or secondary school for the next academic year. We will be supporting primary schools that have capacity to bring back more children – with reduced class sizes of 15 – to do so if they can before the summer holidays.”

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