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Secondary school places in England to be announced

Category: England

Published: 1st Mar 2012 03:11:08

Hundreds of thousands of children in England are finding out whether they have a place at the secondary schools they want to go to.

Those waiting to hear about primary places will find out next month.

Last year, one in five children did not get their first choice of secondary school, rising to one in three in London.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb says there are still too many pupils trying to get into too few good schools.

He says changes being brought in by the government will create more good schools.

"Parents in the most deprived areas of the country are often left to choose between weak schools, and this is no choice at all," he said.

"Our school reforms will raise standards and create more good schools. We are turning around underperforming schools that are failing their pupils."

Parents will be finding out by text, email or letter.

Full details about how many families got their first choice of school will not be published by the government until next month.

But some individual councils - including the London boroughs - will release the information later on 1 March.

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums, said: "The scramble for primary school places is well documented, but in many ways the secondary school a child attends can actually have a bigger influence on their learning and success in life.

"The emotional stresses that both the parent and child go through together in assessing and selecting the right school for them only to be told 'No' cannot be underestimated. Often, however, there are appeals and waiting lists to go on so parents shouldn't despair."

Individual state schools or councils have their own criteria for deciding which students to admit if schools are over-subscribed.

They have to follow the government's Admissions Code, which says the highest priority must be given to children in care or those who have been in care, and sets out other rules for admissions.

In general, most schools allocate places on the basis of distance and whether a child has brothers or sisters there already, although faith schools can select on the basis of religion. Lotteries (random allocation) can also be used.

A new, slimmed-down version of the Admissions Code came in to force last month.

It includes changes which will allow schools to give preference to children of teachers at the same school.

And it also allows academies to prioritise children who are eligible for the Pupil Premium - extra money paid to schools for disadvantaged pupils.

In Northern Ireland, parents and children will find out about their school places in May.

In Scotland, school places are mainly determined by the catchment area in which a child lives, although parents can request a different school.

There is no set date when families hear about places.

In Wales, parents make their choice of school through their local authorities, which operate to various timetables.

Parents who fail to get their child in to the school of their choice can appeal against the decision.

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BBC News, 2012. Secondary school places in England to be announced [Online] (Updated 1st Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1414902/Secondary-school-places-in-England-to-be-announced [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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