Families in Portsmouth area to learn secondary school place decision

FAMILIES across our area will finally find out which secondary school their children will be attending in September.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 7:34 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 8:40 am
Secondary places will be announced today

After months of anxious waiting, parents will discover if their child has been allocated a place at their top choice. 

However across the country more children could miss out on their preferred choice it has been suggested. 

Up to 115,000 youngsters across England are expected to not be offered their first choice when places are announced on Friday, the Good Schools Guide warns.

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Families will be sent a letter or email with the confirmation of the school place their child has been offered. 

What happens next? 

In Portsmouth, you must respond to your offer by Monday, March 11 – which if you got your preferred place means accepting it. 

If you wish your child to remain on any waiting lists after this date you must indicate this in your response otherwise your child's name will be removed.

If you indicate you wish to remain on the waiting list your child's name will be held on the waiting list until August 2020.

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Can I appeal? 

If you wish to appeal you need to contact the Admissions Team at Portsmouth City Council and then you will have to return your appeal form by Friday, March 29, which is four weeks from today. 

More children to miss out nationally

Based on analysis of birth rates and the number of children leaving primary school, it estimates that 606,000 applied for places this year - an increase of 23,000 on 2018.

Last year the proportion of children missing out on a place at their top choice of secondary school rose for the fifth year in a row.

Only 82.1 per cent of 11-year-olds in England received an offer from their desired school - meaning 17.9 per cent missed out, compared with 16.5 per cent the previous year.

The Department for Education said more than 825,000 school places had been created since 2010.

Bernadette John, director at The Good Schools Guide, said: ‘In recent years, some local authorities have struggled to find enough places at primary school level and now we have begun to see the impact on secondary schools.

‘And, for the next few years, it will get worse.’

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told the Press Association: ‘There is intense pressure on secondary school places in some areas of the country for schools rated by Ofsted as 'outstanding' and 'good' and this results in parents missing out on their preferred choice.

‘This situation will become more challenging because the number of pupils in secondary schools is rising and is expected to increase by 428,000 over the next seven years.

‘It is vital that additional places are carefully planned at a regional level to match demographic need, and that everything possible is done to ensure every child can access a place in a good school, not least by improving the totally inadequate level of funding currently provided to schools by the government.’

New analysis from Teach First suggests children from the poorest backgrounds are more likely to be heading to a school rated by Ofsted as less than good, than in 2016.

The education charity found that 35 per cent of children from the poorest postcodes currently attend a school rated as inadequate or requires improvement - an increase from 28 per cent in 2016.

This amounts to an additional 30,000 children from poorer backgrounds.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: ‘Today is a significant milestone for thousands of parents and children finding out which secondary school they will be attending from September.

‘This Government is determined to create more choice for parents when it comes to their children's education and we have created 825,000 school places since 2010, and are on track to see that number rise to a million by 2020.

‘Standards have also risen, with 86% of schools now good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010, and last year more than nine out of 10 pupils got a place at one of their top three choices, setting them on the path for a successful future.’