THE NUMBER of parents and pupils who missed out on their first choice secondary school in Leeds increased slightly this year, new figures have revealed today.
However the majority of applicants have been given a place at a school they had opted for.
The proportion of 11-year-olds allocated to their first preference was 82 per cent this year, down from 83 per cent in 2015.
Parents and pupils found out today which school they have been allocated to.
More than 6,850 children will be attending their first preference school in September and 95 per cent will attend one of their top five preferences.
This year Leeds City Council has allocated 8,341 year seven places, 380 more than last year.
There are 1,483 Leeds pupils who were not allocated a place at their first choice secondary for 2016/17.
The proportion of pupils not getting any of their five preferences at secondary school was 4.6 per cent - 382 children.
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said: “For parents and carers, choosing a secondary school for their children is an incredibly important decision and I am pleased that we have been able to offer the majority of young people their first preference school. Our admissions team will now work closely with schools and families to find alternative places for those children who did not get any of their preferences or who refuse their allocated place.”
The council also stressed the importance of applying on time. This year there were 253 late applications and only 64 of those were offered their first choice.
In Wakefield 92.78 per cent of pupils were allocated their first choice.
Of the 3,518 pupils applying, 3,264 have been given a place at their first choice of school in the city.
There were 90 pupils, 2.56 per cent, who did not secure a place at any of their chosen secondaries in the city. School places is becoming an increasingly controversial issue. The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned unless councils are given back powers to be able to open their own schools or force academies to take on more pupils, they will not be able to fulfil their duty of ensuring every child has a place. However the Department for Education responded by accusing the LGA, which represents councils across the country, of scaremongering.
Under current rules, when a council wants to open a new school to meet demand, it has to run a competition to find a sponsor to set up an academy – which are run outside local council control. There is also controversy over funding for extra places, as last year Leeds City Council warned the city was facing a £65m funding shortfall to create the extra places needed over three years.