1 March 2017

More city pupils offered preferred secondary school

Eighty-four percent of parents in Brighton & Hove applying for secondary school places for September 2017 have been offered their first preference school.

This year’s figure of 84% first preferences (2,115 pupils) is up by more than two percentage points from last year’s figure of 81.35% (1,976 pupils).

The total amount of applications is also up this year at 2,517 compared to 2,429 last year.

The year on year comparison is as follows:

  2017 2016
First preferences offered 2,115 pupils (84%) 1,976 (81.35%)
Second preferences offered 174 pupils (6.9%)  279 (11.49%)
Third preferences offered 81 pupils (3.2%) 68 (2.8%)
No preference offered 147 pupils (5.8%) 106 (4.36%)

In line with the council’s published arrangements, those who were not offered a place at one of their preferred schools were offered places at the nearest school to their home address that had places available.

These included 57 pupils in the Dorothy Stringer / Varndean catchment area who expressed a preference for their catchment area schools.

Appeals relating to school place allocations are heard by an appeals panel that is independent of the council. The panel is not bound by the council’s admission priorities, and its decisions are binding on the council and on schools.

The chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor Dan Chapman said:

“I am delighted to see a rise in the numbers of parents offered their first preference school. Equally, I feel for parents who weren’t offered any of their preferences.

“The council has a legal duty to have enough school places available across the city as a whole for all residents who request one.

“We have always tried our best to ensure parents are offered a place in their catchment school if they apply for one. However, we have never been able to guarantee this.

“Dorothy Stringer and Varndean have both taken their full number of students this year. They are operating at the limits of their capacity, and expanding them further is simply not practical.

“Parents who aren’t offered a catchment area place will automatically be entered in the reallocation pool for their first preference school if a place become available.

“We recognise the need for a new secondary school in the central Brighton area of the city, but government rules mean councils are no longer allowed to open new schools.

“We have been working closely with the University of Brighton Academies Trust to help them find a permanent site for their new school, which is due to open in September 2018.

“We hope to be able to make an announcement about this shortly.”