A father has spoken of his anger after learning his son has missed out on his two choices of secondary school despite having an older sister at one of them. 

Guy Rushworth, of Mulbarton, is one of more than 300 families who found out this week that their child had not been offered any of their preferences. 

His 10-year-old son currently attends Mulbarton Primary, which is traditionally a feeder school for his first choice Hethersett Academy. 

Mr Rushworth is now preparing to lodge an appeal after instead being offered a place at Hewett Academy in Norwich - after council bosses told him Hethersett and backup choice Long Stratton High were both over-subscribed.

Eastern Daily Press: The Hewett School officially became the Hewett Academy in September 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said: "My son is absolutely beside himself.

"He was speaking to his friends yesterday who were all telling him they were going to Hethersett or Long Stratton.

"We were perhaps a bit complacent with our application because we knew our daughter was at Hethersett and that Mulbarton is a feeder school - so only put one backup.

"We would not ever have considered Hewett."

Mr Rushworth said he had heard of other people in the area missing out on places at Hethersett, which is one of the top-ranked schools in the county.

He added: "People move to Mulbarton because they want a semi-rural life and because they know primary is a feeder to an outstanding high school.

"My daughter has received an outstanding education there which is why we wanted our son to go there too.

"But I fear if this problem persists you may see a max exodus of the village."

It comes as annual figures show that almost one in every 10 families were not offered their first choice of schools.

And they have also revealed that the Rushworths were one of 329 families who were not offered places at any of their preferred choices.

This figure is almost double the equivalent number in 2022, which saw 185 families miss out on all of their specified options.

Almost 9,500 applications were submitted for the 2023/24 academic year, with offers sent out this week.

And while 91.8pc of the 9,486 applicants received their first choice, this was a drop of more than two percent on 2022 -  93.9pc.

This year, 4.1pc of families were then able to get into their second choice and 57 (0.6pc) were offered their third choice.

Eastern Daily Press: John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's servicesJohn Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services

John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The vast majority of children in Norfolk have once again been offered a place at their parents’ preferred school, despite a significant rise in applications for secondary school places this year."

There were 129 fewer applicants in 2022 than 2023.

Mr Fisher added: "We continue our ongoing programme of building and expanding schools in areas where there is significant growth in pupil numbers to ensure that children can have places as close to their home as possible. 

“In co-ordinating admission applications we follow national guidelines to ensure that our admissions process is fair and clear. 

"Parents do have a right to appeal against any refused admission and their children are automatically added to the waiting lists of their preferred school, in case a place becomes available.”

Parents have until Friday, March 17, to appeal.

Eastern Daily Press: Mike Smith-Clare, Labour's education lead in NorfolkMike Smith-Clare, Labour's education lead in Norfolk (Image: Labour Party)

Mike Smith-Clare, Labour's education lead in Norfolk, said: "‘While I’m pleased to see just over 91pc of children being able to attend their first choice secondary school - it’s worrying to see 329 relying on a local authority placement due to no preference being met.

"It’s essential all of Norfolk’s children are supported in making a positive and secure transition into secondary education.

"Likewise it’s imperative that schools meet their individual needs in preparing them for future success."