Hundreds of pupils get school of choice

Published Wednesday, 1st March 2017
Family walking to school
Family walking to school

Hundreds of pupils across Rotherham will be going to their preferred secondary school this September, new figures out today show.

Today is National Offer Day when pupils across the country find out which secondary school they have been allocated.

And once again Rotherham is in the top quartile nationally, with most pupils getting into their preferred schools.

Out of 3,408 applications for places, 98.5 per cent have been given one of their three preferred choices, with 94 per cent getting their first preference. This is despite an increase in the number of applicants for places this year.

Cllr Gordon Watson, Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “This is once again great news for pupils here in Rotherham. Being able to offer the vast majority of pupils their preferred choice of secondary school is not only good for families and communities but it will also help drive up attainment levels.”

Today’s figures mirror the success of previous years. Last year 96 per cent of pupils were allocated one of their preferred schools, and in 2015, 94 per cent were given the school they wanted.

Only 1.5 per cent did not get into a preferred school and instead have been allocated either their catchment area school or nearest school to home with a place available.

This is despite a trend for pupils not getting into any of their choices – with up to one in six pupils missing out on their chosen school nationally this year.

A rise in birth rates has placed huge strain on primary places nationally and this is now coming through to the secondary sector.

However, in Rotherham officials have planned for this with a raft of measures to increase secondary school places across the borough.

Already councillors have agreed an additional 150 new places at Wales High School as part of wider £7 million growth plans across the borough.

And Cabinet is recommended to support similar plans for Wath Comprehensive School at a meeting later this month. The £1.3m plans are to also increase this popular school by a further 150 places to accommodate current and future pupil numbers.

Further plans will be coming to Cabinet to support expansions at St Bernard’s, St Pius, Oakwood High and Aston in future months.

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council added: “The overwhelming majority of children receive an offer of their preferred choice of school here in Rotherham, which I am sure will be welcomed by families across the borough. This is a direct result of the council’s ongoing positive working relationships with the borough’s secondary schools and academies and careful planning by the Council to ensure we have enough local places for pupils.”

The funding for the expansions will come from Basic Need Funding - allocated to Local Authorities from the DfE to meet future school place demand. The projects will need to be planned within these Government funding allocation limits.

Any parents or carers who are not happy with the allocation for their child have the right to appeal any decision which will be heard by an independent panel.