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Majority of children to start school at first-choice primary, figures show

A student working with a teacher. Picture: David Davies/PA

A student working with a teacher. Picture: David Davies/PA

The vast majority of children in Norfolk and Suffolk will start school in autumn at their top choice, figures show.

Monday marked National Offer Day, when parents around the country found out where their children would be starting reception - or junior school for those at infant schools - in September.

In Norfolk 94.4pc of the 8,959 applications secured their first-place reception preference, just slightly shy of the 94.6pc in Suffolk, where there was 7,544 applications.

And 98.2pc of parents in Norfolk will send their children to a school which made it into their top three choices, compared to 99.7pc in Suffolk.

Primary schools have seen a boom in pupil numbers, prompted by a spike in the birth rate in the early 2000s.

It is now making its way up into secondary schools, with government forecasts predicting that primary pupil numbers may start to plateau beyond 2020/2021.

Official data shows that last year, 90pc of families got their first choice of primary school.

Penny Carpenter, chairman of children’s services committee, said: “The vast majority of parents will be very happy, as we have been able to offer 94.4% of pupils their first choice of primary school.

“We expect this to again be above the national average, and this is testament to the dedication of our staff, who have worked hard to increase school places in areas with high demand.

“Any child not offered one of their parents’ preferred places will have been offered a place at their next nearest school with a space and added to the waiting list of their preferred school. Their parents will also have been offered the right of appeal.”

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “We have a good track record of offering places at preferred schools and this year is no exception.

At a time when many areas across the UK are facing real issues in finding enough primary school places, I am delighted that this year over 94pc of children in Suffolk received a place at their preferred school.”

Any parents or carers with children born between September 1, 2013, and August 31, 2014, who have not yet applied for a school place should get in touch with their council as quickly as possible.

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