Parents defy increase in child population to secure place at first-choice primary school

The number of children given a place at their first-preference school has risen in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire The number of children given a place at their first-preference school has risen in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Thursday, April 17, 2014
6:30 AM

The proportion of Norfolk parents securing a place for their child at their first-preference primary school has increased, despite more than

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Mobile classroom at Howard Junior SchoolMobile classroom at Howard Junior School

200 extra children entering the system.

The news will be welcomed by thousands of parents who will receive a letter outlining their offer today, or who received it online yesterday.

A total of 94.4pc of Norfolk parents will be able to send their children to the school they like best in September, compared to a total of 93.3pc last year.

Norfolk County Council said the total number of applications increased by 228, but a better spread of parental preferences among schools, together with an extra 90 school places it provided, were key factors in the rise in satisfied parents.

However, this still left about 500 Norfolk children without their first choice.

The council said 308 parents received their second preference, 61 received their third preference, while 134, or 1.5pc, were not given a place at any school they listed, and were instead given places at other schools.

The number of parents not given a place at any school they chose fell from 166, or 1.9pc, in 2013.

Richard Snowden, head of Norfolk County Council’s school admissions service, said: “Families may have applied in different ways. Maybe there are other circumstances.

“Maybe they have moved, or they can afford to transport their children to schools they could not before.”

The extra three forms of entry for September 2014 are spread around one school in Downham Market, one in King’s Lynn, one on the outskirts of Norwich, and two in rural schools with short-term trends.

Most are in modern mobile classrooms, which are insulated, and include toilets and cloakroom facilities.

Based on information from planning and health authorities, the council expects the current trend for more four year olds entering the system to continue over the next four years.

It already has longer-term plans for 20 new schools to deal with anticipated new housing and population growth over the next 15-20 years.

Last month, the proportion of Norfolk pupils given their first-preference secondary school place fell slightly.

The council had sent secondary school place offers for 7,279 pupils, with the proportion offered their first preference falling to 96.4pc this year, compared to 97.7pc in 2013.

Are you happy with your offer? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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