Most first-choice places for high school students at Bucks since 2014

In April, students starting this year in public primary and secondary schools found out which school they would be enrolled in.

Parents can indicate between three and six preferences for a state school of their choice, with the exact number varying from local authority to local authority.

Schools are ranked in order of preference, with students assigned to the highest school on the list for which they meet the eligibility criteria.

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Archival school image, photo by Ben Birchall Press Association

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New figures from the Department for Education show there were 6,672 applicants to secondary schools in Buckinghamshire this year.

Of these, 77.3% secured a place in their first choice for the 2022-23 school year, up from 63% the previous year and the highest proportion since 2014-2015.

Meanwhile, 94.9% were assigned to one of the schools on their list – also up from the previous year, when the same figure was 94.5%.

If pupils do not receive an offer from one of their preferences, they are allocated a place at another school by the local council.

Across England, 83.3% of more than 600,000 applicants are heading to their first choice of secondary school in September, up from 81.1% last year.

But Emily Hunt, associate director of the Education Policy Institute think tank, said these statistics only tell “part of the story”.

“We know from our research that first-choice offer rates vary widely across the country, as does the availability of high-performing schools to apply to.

“The criteria used to determine whether a student is offered a place can also make it difficult for students who cannot live nearby.”

In the whole of the Southeast, 91.2% got their first choice of primary school and 83.3% of secondary school entrants got their first choice.

Ms Hunt continued: ‘For parents who have not been offered their first choice, many will consider using the call and waiting list system.

“Our own research has shown it can be difficult to navigate, with students from more affluent backgrounds more likely to succeed through these pathways.”

Figures show 90.6 per cent of children in Buckinghamshire have received their first choice primary school, an increase from 89.3 per cent in the 2021-22 school year and the highest proportion since 2014.

Almost all the children were assigned a place in primary school on their list, with 98.7% assigned to one of their preferences.

Schools Standards Minister Robin Walker said: “It is fantastic to see the overwhelming majority of prospective primary and secondary pupils once again receiving offers from their favorite schools.

“We continue to push forward the work to improve the quality of education across the country, and with students already much more likely to go to a good school than they were a decade ago, parents can be sure that, wherever they live, their child will get the high quality education they deserve.

At The Bucks Herald, we’re always on the lookout for interesting and important local stories. Do you have a story to tell or an important question to raise? Contact us by email [email protected]

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