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80,000 children may miss out on their first choice of primary school: Crisis intensifies following baby boom fuelled by migration

  • A baby boom fuelled by migration has left many local authorities at breaking point 
  • Experts said the problem could get worse as councils lose powers to create new places
  • They also warned of over-crowding in classes and poor facilities at schools 
  • On Monday, more than 600,000 children are due to receive their primary school allocation

A baby boom fuelled by migration has left many local authorities at breaking point – and the most over-populated won’t be able to offer some families a single place.

Experts said the problem could get worse as councils lose powers to create new places because more schools are becoming academies, which are free from local authority control.

They also warned of over-crowding in classes and poor facilities as schools struggle to keep pace with the rising birth rate.

Unprecedented numbers of children – up to 80,000 – are expected to miss out on their preferred primary schools this year (file photo)

On Monday, more than 600,000 children are due to receive their primary school allocation on what is known as National Offer Day.

A Daily Mail survey of councils suggests up to one in seven children will miss out on their first choice in some areas, while one in 20 may get none of their preferences.

Around 20,000 families are expected to miss out on all of their choices, while several thousand are likely to be offered no place.

Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘The Government misjudged the issue and is desperately trying to catch up with the rising birth rate.

‘The situation is not helped by the fact that while local authorities are responsible for securing sufficient places, they have neither the power to open new schools nor decide admissions to the growing number of primary academies.

‘In short, parents are less likely to get the school they want, and, if they do, the class is more likely to be crowded and the classroom temporary.’

According to the Mail’s survey, 13 per cent of applicants have missed out on their first choice in Hull, with 5 per cent getting none of their choices. The city’s most oversubscribed school is Gillshill Primary, with 245 first-choice applications for just 60 places.

In Essex, 13 per cent missed out on their first choice. Hamilton Primary School in Colchester received 357 applications for 60 places.

Osborne: ‘Setting schools free from local education bureaucracy’

A baby boom fuelled by migration has left many local authorities at breaking point (file photo)

And in Sandwell, West Midlands, 12 per cent missed out on their first choice and 5 per cent were offered none of their choices.

Meanwhile, in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire 12 per cent did not get their first choice, while in Leicester and Ealing, West London, it was 14 per cent. Several London boroughs had more applications than there were places, meaning many of those losing out will have to attend schools far away from their homes.

In contrast 6 per cent did not get their first choice in North Lincolnshire.

Last year, applications in England rose from 623,526 to 636,279, with 12 per cent missing out on their first choice school and 3 per cent missing out on all of their choices.

Yesterday, research revealed that competition for places is so fierce that even the worst schools are becoming difficult to get into.

According to the FindASchool website, the difference in average catchment areas between schools in London with ‘outstanding’ and ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted ratings has more than halved since 2010.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: ‘Despite rising pupil numbers, 95.9 per cent of parents in England received an offer at one of their top three preferred primary schools last year. We have spent £5billion creating places since 2010, with over 100,000 primary places added in 2014/15 alone.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3542860/80-000-children-miss-choice-primary-school-Crisis-intensifies-following-baby-boom-fuelled-migration.html

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