Keep trying for school places, Hampshire parents told

John Coughlan
John Coughlan
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PARENTS have been urged not to give up if they missed out on getting a place for their children at their preferred primary school.

Hampshire County Council director of children’s services John Coughlan said it was inevitable some parents would miss out on getting their first and second choice of school.

But he said circumstances could change and parents could end getting their children accepted to the school they wanted.

Mr Coughlan said: ‘Our advice to them is that they can appeal, and to keep their child’s name on the waiting list for their preferred place.

‘We can offer a place of some form to every child in Hampshire.’

The council received about 15,000 applications for primary school places in its administrative patch, which does not include Portsmouth.

Of that number about 400 parents missed out on both their first and second choice of schools.

Mr Coughlan said the council was sorry to the families who missed out.

He said the council had received three per cent more applications than last year, which was part of a nationwide trend driven by a growing birth rate.

Mr Coughlan said the council was boosting its number of places to keep up with demand.

‘We’re in the process of creating an extra 11,000 primary places across the county,’ he said. ‘The programme of expansion should be completed in about three years.’

Mr Coughlan said just under 90 per cent of parents applying for a primary school place were allocated a place at their first choice school, and more than 97 per cent were offered a place at one of their three preferred schools.

He said predicting the number of primary places required was a complex calculation, relying on annually-collected health data indicating the number of pre-school age children across the county, as well as district and borough councils’ local development plans showing proposed housing growth.

He said people moving to existing homes in and out of the county and parents’ preferences were harder to predict.