Even more pupils get school of choice

Published Thursday, 1st March 2018
Pupils at secondary school
Pupils at secondary school

Thousands of pupils across Rotherham will be going to their preferred secondary school this September, with nearly all getting what they asked for.

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

Rotherham is once again leading the way nationally in terms of pupils getting into their preferred schools, with the vast majority of pupils getting a place in their top three choices. This is up on last year’s figures, which were already excellent.

Out of 3,482 applications for places, 99 per cent have been given one of their three preferred schools, with 94.5 per cent getting their first preference. This is despite even more applicants for places this year.

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “This is good news once again for Rotherham families as the vast majority of pupils will be going to the school they chose.

“It can be a worrying time waiting to see if your child has got into your preferred choice of secondary school, but I hope our consistently good results in ensuring this happens reassures parents and carers we have their best interests at heart.

“Getting to go to a school you chose helps families and communities and also helps drive up attainment levels, so win win all round.”

Today’s figures mirror the success of previous years. Last year 98.5 per cent of pupils were allocated one of their preferred schools, and in 2016, 96 per cent were given the school they chose.

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

This is despite warnings nationally that schools will be thousands of places short over the next few years as a population bulge moves up from primary.

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 over the last few years as part of wider £7 million growth plans across the borough. Council leaders have recently agreed to do the same for much needed special educational needs and disability places and will be expanding special and mainstream schools across the borough to accommodate this shortly.

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council added: “We are committed to giving every child the best start in life here in Rotherham and what better way to highlight this commitment than listening and acting on the needs of local families.

“We began a series of expansion plans at secondary schools a few years ago as we predicted places were needed. This followed similar expansions at primary schools to accommodate the pupils as they moved through the system. We are continuing this with our expansion of places for children with special educational needs and disabilities, as that is the next area where there are sufficiency issues not just here in Rotherham but nationally. Recognising this and planning for it will help to give families the choices they want in the future.”

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