Smaller proportion of children land place at first-choice secondary schools in Hucknall and wider Nottinghamshire

A smaller proportion of children than ever are headed to their first-choice secondary school in Hucknall and the rest of Nottinghamshire this September, new figures show.

In April, pupils starting at primary and secondary state schools this year found out which school they would be attending.

Parents can put between three and six preferences down for a state school of choice, with the exact number varying between local authorities.

Schools are ranked by order of preference, with pupils allocated to the highest school on the list for which they meet the eligibility criteria.

If pupils do not receive an offer from any of their preferences, they are given a place at another school by the local council.

Department for Education figures show there were 9,626 applicants to secondary schools in Nottinghamshire this year.

Of these, 89 per cent were given a place at their first choice for the 2022-23 school year, down from 90.1 per cent the year before, and the smallest proportion since comparable data was first recorded in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, 96.7 per cent were allocated to one of the schools on their list, also down from the year before, when the same figure stood at 96.9 per cent.

However, Nottinghamshire Council, the schools admission authority, said the ‘absolute number’ of successful school place applications has gone up this year compared to last.

Across the East Midlands, 94.8 per cent were allocated their first-choice primary school, and 85.9 per cent of incoming secondary pupils landed their first pick.

The figures show 96.6 per cent of Nottinghamshire children were given their first-choice primary school, a rise from the 93.4 per cent in the 2021-22 school year, and the greatest proportion since 2014.

Almost every child was given a primary school place on their list, with 99.7 per cent being allocated to one of their preferences.

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Coun Tracey Taylor, council cabinet member for children and young people said: “That almost all children have secured a place at one of their nominated primary or secondary schools is positive news for Nottinghamshire families.

“A record number of 9,626 Nottinghamshire children applied for a secondary school place for September 2022, almost 400 more than last year.

“Despite an increase in demand for school places, the council’s success rate in meeting preferences for parents and guardians is comparable with previous years, with 89 per cent, 8,566, of applicants being offered their first preference, up from 8,349 last year.

“Parents and guardians who successfully received one of their four preferences stands at 96.7 per cent, 9,306, with 3.3 per cent, 320, receiving alternative offers after no preference could be met.

“Schools have gone above and beyond to accommodate the demand for extra places and we cannot thank them enough. We have worked with schools to make this happen and I’m proud of everyone involved for making sure children across Nottinghamshire are not without a school place.

“We are proud we were still able to offer more than 96 per cent of families one of their preferences even with the growing pupil numbers, and where that has not been possible, we have done everything we can to find an acceptable place for that child.

“We are, of course, determined to keep improving and this includes continuing to work to increase school place provision where needed as well as to stress to parents how vital it is to use all four of their preferences on their application rather than only making one.”