Norfolk and Suffolk school place joy for parents
Thousands of Norfolk and Suffolk parents and their children will be relieved today after the vast majority secured a place at their first-choice high school.
But in Cambridgeshire, where school places are at a premium because of a rising population, more than one in 10 had their first choice turned down.
Yesterday was the day when decision letters landed on parents' doorsteps – ending months of nervous waiting after they made their choices.
In Norfolk, there were 7,657 applications from people in the county, down from 7,862 in 2010 because of falling numbers of high school-aged children.
Of those, 7,355 (96.1pc) got their first preference – up from 95.2pc last year.
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Another 227 (3pc) got their second preference, and 18 (0.2pc) their third. In total, 98.9pc got one of their three choices, while just 57 people missed out.
In Suffolk, of 9,401 applications 8,988 (95.61pc) were given their first choice, up from 93.75pc last year, while 9,243 (98.32pc) got their first or second choice and 9,285 (98.77pc) were handed one of their three preferences.
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In Cambridgeshire, last year's figure of 94.1pc getting their first choice fell to 89.4pc – largely because there were an additional 490 applications this year, up from 5,387 to 5,877.
Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We are pleased to see an increase in the proportion of young people receiving their first preference for a secondary school place. This means that the vast majority of parents will be happy with the offer they receive.
'Most parents in Norfolk apply for a place at their child's local school and, as most schools prioritise children in their catchment, this means the success rate of applications is very high.'
She added: 'Any parent who has not been offered one of their preferences is able to appeal. They will also be placed on a waiting list at each of their preferred schools. Admissions officers are able to offer advice and support and further information is available via www.norfolk.gov.uk/admissions.'
Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said; 'We have some superb schools in Suffolk so I am delighted to see more students able to go to the school of their choice.
'Progressing to secondary school and beginning preparations for GCSEs is an important moment for any young person, so the more we can do to make the transition right for the student, the better. I wish everyone starting a new school in September all the very best.'