Hartlepool primary school places: 97.5% of parents given their first choice

In Hartlepool 97.5% of primary youngsters have been allocated their first choice school.

By Sue Kirby
Tuesday, 16 April, 2019, 15:15
Primary school pupils are being allocated their places today.

Today parents across the country are finding out if they have managed to get their first choice of primary school for their children.

In Hartlepool 97.5% of children will be starting school at their first choice place in September, compared to 95% in the town last year.

A further 1.6% of youngsters have been offered their second choice, compared to 2.3% last year and 0.5% have been offered their third choice, compared to none last year.

Hartlepool Borough Council said 0.4% of children have not been offered one of their preferred school choices, compared to 0.7% last year.

There were 1,049 applications for primary places in the town this year and parents are advised to either accept or decline the school place offered before April 30.

Gill Alexander, Chief Executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “These figures are extremely good news for the vast majority of parents and represent a further improvement on last year.

"They show how the council’s Admissions Team and primary schools continue to work hard to meet an extraordinarily high proportion of parents/carers' first choices of primary school for a September 2019 start, and I would like to congratulate them on the service they provide.”

In County Durham more than 95% of children will go to their first choice of primary school this September.

Out of the 5,165 applications received, 4,924 have been offered a place at their first choice school, 181 their second preference and 26 their third.

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Richard Crane, Durham County Council’s head of education and skills, said: “For many parents it can be a daunting time when their sons and daughters are starting school, so we are pleased to be able to offer so many children their first choice.”

Hundreds of thousands of four and five-year-olds across England are set to be allotted school places, on what is commonly known as National Offer Day.

Department for Education figures showed 91% of primary pupils were offered their first choice in 2018, while 97.7% were offered one of their top three choices.

Ministers said the number of children being offered their first choice of primary school had been improving since 2014.

However, heads warned that the offers system was not working properly in some areas.

National Association of Head Teachers' general secretary, Paul Whiteman, said: "Local authorities are responsible for ensuring sufficient school places, but the powers and resources necessary for them to do so have been removed.

"Instead, planning is haphazard; decisions are being made in isolation and new schools and new school places are not always being commissioned in the areas they are most needed."

School standards minister Nick Gibb, said: "Any school place offer day is a big event for families, but parents should be reassured that the improvement in the school system means that they would probably find the schools themselves unrecognisable from a generation ago.

"Even in instances where parents aren't getting the news they hoped for today, the likelihood is that their child will be attending a school which will provide a first-class education."