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Fewer Norfolk and Suffolk children land first-choice high school spots on National Offer Day

PUBLISHED: 11:27 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 01 March 2018

Nine out of 10 children in Norfolk and Suffolk have received a place at their first-choice secondary school, on National Offer Day. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Nine out of 10 children in Norfolk and Suffolk have received a place at their first-choice secondary school, on National Offer Day. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Nine out of 10 children in Norfolk and Suffolk have secured a spot at their first-choice high school, despite a dip in the figures.

On Thursday, thousands of families will find out which secondary school their child will attend in September, on what has become known around the country as national offer day.

In both counties, 92pc of 11-year-olds starting year seven this autumn secured their top choice, a fall on last year, when 93pc of families in Suffolk and 95pc in Norfolk received their preferred school place.

In Norfolk, this year’s 92pc meant 8,019 children secured their top preference, with 4pc, 388, landing their second and 0.7pc, 58, receiving their third.

Norfolk County Council said that 0.2pc did not receive a place at any of their top three choices, and would be made another offer.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said: “It is extremely positive to see that we have been able to offer a preferred school to the majority of applicants this year.

“We use published national criteria to decide who has priority for places so that the process is fair and clear. “We do, however, understand that some families may be disappointed or anxious about the offer we have made.

“When a parent’s preference is refused, we will put their child’s name on the waiting list for that school automatically and tell them how they can make an appeal, should they wish to do so.”

He said starting secondary school was “an important moment” for any child, so it was important to make that transition as easy as possible.

Around the country, it is believed that roughly 100,000 pupils will miss out on their first choice of secondary school, a rise of 7pc, according to the Good Schools Guide analysis.

It comes amid a sharp increase in demand for places, as a bulge in the primary school population due to rises in birth rates moves into secondaries.

Suffolk County Council this year recorded 7,447 applications, its highest number to date.

While parents can log onto the councils’ online portals and will be emailed offers, they warned that the heavy snow may mean letters in the post are delayed.

National Offer Day for children starting primary school in September will be April 16.

• How did you get on? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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