Number of children given preferred school spots drop

Primary school children. Picture: Getti images

Primary school children. Picture: Getti images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of children offered a place at one of their three preferred primary schools in Devon has dropped following an increase in the number of families applying.

There were 7,580 applications were made across the county – 310 more than last year – and despite the jump in numbers, 98.3 per cent of families have been offered a place at one of their three preferred schools.

The new figures show that 94.6 per cent of the families who applied to Devon County Council for a place in a county primary have got their first preference, with 2.9 per cent were offered their second preference and 0.7 per cent their third preference.

But the overall figure for preferences met is down slightly from last year’s 99.2 per cent when Devon County Council’s admissions team handled applications for 7,270 children.

Devon County Council’s cabinet member for schools, Cllr James McInnes, said: “There continues to be considerable pressure on primary school places and we have been working hard to expand the number of places that are available.

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“It is therefore very gratifying that we have been able to accommodate the vast majority of children in one of their three preferred schools.

“Because of the coronavirus crisis, our teams have been mostly working independently at home. Nevertheless they have managed a high number of applications and finalised the allocation of places ahead of the national deadline.

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“Our forward planning has also meant the crisis has not had an impact on the building projects required to meet the increased numbers of students.

“This is a testament to the hard work of the dedicated staff who work in our admissions and school place planning teams and the partnership and cooperation we have received from the heads and governors of Devon’s primary schools.

“These are very early statistics and are quite likely to improve even more before September as appeals are heard and other factors are taken into account, such as parents not taking up places they have been offered.”

Parents should have been notified of their places on Thursday and the county council’s admissions team will be available to deal with enquiries supported by the schools team at Devon’s Customer Service Centre.

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