Some 115,000 children could miss out on their preference as pupil numbers rise
Tens of thousands of parents will find out which secondary school their child will attend on National Offer Day – when councils across England reveal their decisions.
The majority of parents get their first choice, but new analysis suggests that a record number of children will miss out on their first-choice secondary school this year.
Secondary schools have already started seeing an increase in numbers, prompted by a spike in the birth rate in the early years of this century.
These children are now making their way through the school system and pupil numbers in England’s secondary schools are expected to grow by half a million over the next eight years.
In some areas of the country where the numbers have surged and there is a shortage of school places, an even higher proportion of children have missed out on their first choice.
What can parents of children who don’t to get their first choice do?
Families can challenge the decision through a formal appeal process with the admission authority – which could be the local authority or the school itself, depending on whether it is an academy.
Disappointed parents can also add their child to the waiting list for other schools.
Before deciding whether to appeal a place through a written request, parents should check the Government’s school admissions appeal code.
Families who choose to appeal and take it to a panel have to provide strong evidence as to why their child should be granted a place at their preferred secondary school.
Appeal hearings will normally take place between eight and 12 weeks after National Offer Day. So in some cases, they can occur as late as June.
But an analysis of government statistics last year found that the number of successful appeals, particularly in urban areas, from parents is on the decline.
Source: The Independent