More pupils of­fered first-choice schools

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? - by San­dra Hem­bery ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­

NEARLY 80 per cent of all pupils ap­ply­ing to Kent’s secondary schools have been of­fered their first choice.

The anx­ious wait ended for more than 16,000 fam­i­lies on Tues­day with let­ters from Kent County Coun­cil drop­ping onto door­mats of­fer­ing chil­dren a secondary school place for Septem­ber.

Fam­i­lies who ap­plied on­line were sent emails de­tail­ing of­fers.

Out of the 16,277 Kent chil­dren ap­ply­ing, 78 per cent re­ceived their first pref­er­ence school, com­pared with 70 per cent last year. More than 11 per cent were al­lo­cated their sec­ond choice school.

Mean­while, more than 95 per cent were of­fered a school they named on their ap­pli­ca­tion form – an im­prove­ment on last year’s fig­ure.

The big dif­fer­ence this year is par­ents have had the chance to see the re­sults of their chil­dren’s 11+ Kent As­sess­ment be­fore choos­ing their pre­ferred schools. It was also the first year par­ents could in­clude a fourth pref­er­ence.

De­spite some ini­tial con­cern about mov­ing the test from Jan­uary back to Septem­ber, the ma­jor­ity of par­ents in­di­cated it was more im­por­tant to have the re­sults first in or­der to make an in­formed school de­ci­sion.

This is the third year that par­ents have been able to ap­ply for a secondary school place on­line. More than 5,460 par­ents used the on­line sys­tem, which is dou­ble the num­ber since KCC re­vamped its on­line school ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem dur­ing 2007.

Cab­i­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion op­er­a­tions, re­sources and skills Mark Dance said: “It is a huge lo­gis­ti­cal ex­er­cise to make sure that the of­fers go out on time and it is pleas­ing that 95 per cent of par­ents have been of­fered a school of their choice.

“The change to equal pref­er­ence last year made life sim­pler for par­ents and now, with the added ben­e­fit of par­ents hav­ing as­sess­ment in­for­ma­tion be­fore they choose their schools, they are in a po­si­tion to make in­formed de­ci­sions about their school pref­er­ences.”

Mark Dance: The change to equal pref­er­ence has made life sim­pler for par­ents

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