Primary school offers day: hundreds of families miss out on first-choice school

File photo dated 08/02/12 of a primary school pupil at work in a classroom as an increasing number o

File photo dated 08/02/12 of a primary school pupil at work in a classroom as an increasing number of schools are using lotteries or "banding" pupils by ability when offering places, according to new research. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday February 27, 2014. The study suggests that schools are increasingly turning to these methods in a bid to make their admissions fairer and gain a balanced intake of students. The move is being fuelled by academies and free schools, which have the freedom to set their own admissions rules, it says. Research conducted for the Sutton Trust by academics at the London School of Economics analysed the admissions policies of around 3,000 state secondary schools and academies in England for the 2012/13 school year. It found that in total, 121 schools in England used a "banding" system as part of their admissions policy in 2012/13, compared to 95 who were using this method in 2008. Banding is a system in which pupils are tested and put into different " ability bands" - Credit: PA

More than 600 families in Norfolk have missed out on their first-choice primary school for children starting school in September.

Tuesday saw the release of offers for reception class places and junior school places, with parents around the country anxiously waiting to find out which schools had accepted their request for a place for their child.

Admissions data from Norfolk County Council shows that, of the 9,062 applications made for reception class places for the next academic year, 92.8pc were given their first preference.

This compares to 94.4pc of the 8,959 applicants in 2018 securing their first choice.

The council figures show 355 applicants (4pc) secured their second preference for the 2019/20 academic year and 82 secured their third – while 191 applications were not offered a place at any of their preferred schools.

Some 20 applications submitted late got no offers.

Parents and carers dissatisfied with their offers have the right to appeal and now have until Friday, May 3 to announce their intention to do so to the county council.

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Secondary school place offers were announced in March, with 90.5pc of applicants in Norfolk being accepted by their first choice school and around 4pc missing out on offers from their three preferred schools.

The increase in the number of applications made for reception places at Norfolk's primary schools is a trend expected to continue in the coming years.

In March the county council revealed plans for £200m worth of new schools to cope with an expected increase in population, caused by new housing developments and demographic shifts.

The proposals include 22 new primary schools – at an anticipated cost of £8m each – with north Norwich, Thetford and Attleborough among the areas set to get more than one new school.

Following a gloomy period for school performance in Norfolk – during which the local authority endured heavy scrutiny from Ofsted – the number of schools ranked 'good' and 'outstanding' is rising steadily. As of October 31, 2018 more than four in every five of the county's schools held one of the inspectorate's top two rankings.

Out of the 418 primary school inspected, nearly 84pc were judged as 'good' or above.