County sees in­crease in first choice school place al­lo­ca­tion

Coun­cil­lors say fig­ures are ‘fur­ther ev­i­dence that the sys­tem is work­ing well in Bucks’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Herbert tom.herbert@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

We hope these fig­ures will grow and grow

NEARLY all chil­dren across the county se­cured a place at their first choice se­nior school, say Bucks County Coun­cil.

Around 87% were al­lo­cated a sec­ondary school place once gram­mar school qual­i­fi­ca­tion was taken into ac­count, up from the 76.95% an­nounced last month on Na­tional Of­fer Day and 3% higher than last year.

The near 10% jump has been put down to those chil­dren who are not suc­cess­ful in gain­ing a gram­mar school place achiev­ing one at their first choice up­per school.

Zahir Mo­hammed, cab­i­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion and skills, said: “The orig­i­nal over­all fig­ure doesn’t re­flect the fact that, due to the na­ture of the se­lec­tive sys­tem, not ev­ery child in the county is suc­cess­ful in gain­ing en­try to a gram­mar school – even if they place it first choice on their list.

“The new, higher fig­ure ac­counts for the fact that a large num­ber of pupils who don’t achieve a gram­mar place are still al­lo­cated the first choice of up­per school that they have listed.”

He added this was fur­ther ev­i­dence that the al­lo­ca­tion sys­tem was work­ing well in Buck­ing­hamshire.

Ac­cord­ing to BCC, their sta­tis­tics show that 83% of chil­dren achieved their first choice up­per school when gram­mar school pref­er­ences were taken out of the equa­tion, an in­crease of 1% on last year. The fig­ure for gram­mar-qual­i­fied chil­dren achiev­ing their first pref­er­ence is 97%, the same as last year. The com­bined sta­tis­tics add up to 87%.

Mr Mo­hammed added: “Ob­vi­ously, we would pre­fer if 100% of all chil­dren were given a place in their first choice school, but I was de­lighted to see the in­creases this year in the al­lo­ca­tion suc­cess rates.

“We hope these fig­ures will grow and grow, and we will work ro­bustly to try to achieve sat­is­fac­tion for ev­ery fam­ily in this re­gard.”

Chil­dren who do not gain a place at their first choice school go on to the wait­ing list and can ap­peal for a place at their pre­ferred school.

The ad­mis­sions team will carry on try­ing to meet their pref­er­ence as they go through a num­ber of al­lo­ca­tion rounds be­tween now and the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber.

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