1,500 Hampshire children miss out on first-choice primary school

PICTURE GALLERY: Fareham Academy Christmas fair

Have your say

Around 1,500 schoolchildren in Hampshire have failed to secure a place at their parents’ first-choice primary school.

The county council announced today that just under 90 percent of parents applying for a primary school place have been allocated a place at their first choice school, with over 97 per cent being offered a place at one of their three preferred schools.

The council said that figures for 2014 were similar to last year despite rising demand for places this year. It said that in total, Hampshire County Council’s Admissions Service has processed almost 15,000 applications for primary school places.

A council spokesman said: ‘The news comes after county councillors agreed a budget in January that included a substantial planned investment of approaching £150 million over the next three years to build new schools and expand existing ones, creating thousands of new school places to meet forecast demand.’

In a statement, Councillor Keith Mans, the councillor in charge of children’s services, said: ‘I am pleased to see that we have been able, yet again, to offer a high number of pupils a place at their preferred school.

‘I do understand that there will be some disappointment for a small number of parents who did not secure a place for their child at a school of their choice. However, they have the right to appeal in these situations and can put their child’s name down on their preferred school’s waiting list. Places do become available if parents change their mind, or families move home.

‘In common with the national picture, demand for school places is growing. We have been working hard to increase capacity at primary schools in areas where demand is highest. Already we have expanded some of our schools in Winchester, Romsey and Andover and we will continue to provide quality education locally to where children live, and where parents want them to go to school.

‘Predicting the number of primary places required is 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. Other factors that play their part, and are less easy to predict, are population movements to existing homes in and out of the county and the impact of parental preference.

‘We will continue to do all we can to support parents and to plan and build for the future. The high number receiving an offer of a place at one of their preferred schools is an impressive achievement and is due to the combined efforts of the County Council’s staff and the quality of the schools in the county. I wish the children every success as they make their journey through education.’

Hundreds of thousands of children across England are learning today which primary school they will be attending from this autumn, but many families are likely to be facing disappointment after missing out on their first choice.

For the first time this year, families in every area of the country are finding out at the same time which school they have been allocated on the primary National Offer Day.

It has been suggested that tens of thousands of four-year-olds could miss out on their first-choice place this year, with predictions that up to one in three will lose out in some areas, particularly in major cities that are facing a shortage of places.

Councils and schools have been facing an increasing squeeze on school places, particularly for primary-age children, partly fuelled by a rising birth rate in recent years and the impact of immigration.