Fewer children offered their first choice of secondary school, study finds

The Independent is reporting a new study from the New Schools Network suggesting fewer children are getting their first choice of school, with most new places for pupils “being created in institutions that are getting worse”.

As the deadline day for secondary school applications approaches on Saturday, a report has found that around one in seven families, or 76,000 children, failed to get a place for their children at their first choice of school last year. A quarter (19,000) did not receive an offer for any of their preferred schools.

The chances of winning a place at their first choice school has declined over the past three years, the analysis by the New Schools Network found… Families in big cities were particularly likely to miss out…

In the past four years, 42,000 – half – of the 79,000 places created in expanding schools were in schools where GCSE results have worsened, it claims.

Between 2011 and 2014, schools that have seen the proportion of their students receiving five A*-C GCSEs decline (including English and Maths) have added 42,746 new pupils. And almost 14,000 of places were added over the past four years in schools rated failing by Ofsted…

Nick Timothy, director of the New Schools Network, said: “Picking the right secondary school is difficult enough, but for those in big cities, the chances of getting their first choice school are falling fast. For too many their only choice is a school that isn’t good enough.

More at: Fewer children offered their first choice of secondary school, study finds

 

Clearly the New Schools Network is pushing for more new free schools as a preferred solution to the need for extra places, but is there merit to their concern that a lot of new school places are being created in schools where exam results are declining?

Please give us your feedback on this in the comments or via Twitter…

 

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link

White working-class boys fall further behind
Your school's got no room for extra pupils? It’s time to build upwards…
Categories: Free Schools, Parenting, Policy and Secondary.

Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is a very thinly veiled plea by the people who like free schools to the govt to allow more free schools; it’s not news

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is a very thinly veiled plea by the people who like free schools to the govt to allow more free schools; it’s not news

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove In many areas of England the illusion of school choice peddled by govt is just that, an illusion. School type is irrelevant

  4. 5N_Afzal

    SchoolsImprove It’s not a “choice”. You don’t have a choice, you express a preference. This needs to be understood by everyone.

  5. natedtrust_marc

    5N_Afzal SchoolsImprove quite… And it’s a rather big leap by Mr Timothy to claim schools are ‘not good enough’ based on a dip in results

  6. VictoriaJaquiss

    You would have to be Nicky Michael or Michael not to realise that newly arrived refugees aren’t fluent enough in English to do justice to their academic potential, will appear in the unpopular inner-city schools, depress the grades even further (vicious circle) etc.
    I sent my two youngest to unpopular low average grade inner city school where they did do justice (just about) to their academic ability (9 A- Cs each), and bonus, they met loads from all over the world and expanded their world knowledge in a different way.
    League tables do untold damage. They should go. The average parent does know or want to know the complexities of school life.

  7. Some context:
    84.2% applicants were offered a place at their first choice
    of secondary school in 2015, down 1.0 percentage points from 85.2% in 2014. 

    96.4% of applicants receiving an offer of any of their preferred
    schools at secondary level in 2015, down 0.4 percentage points from 96.8% in
    2014.

    87.8% The proportion of applicants to primary school offered a place at their
    first choice of school, virtually unchanged from 87.7% in 2014  

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/434669/SFR17-2015_Apps_and_offers.pdf

    Note the words ‘virtually unchanged’.  This suggests NSN is exaggerating a little.
    The NSN’s graph shows a steep decline but that’s because the vertical scale begins at 82.50% and ends at 87%.  This scale gives a false impression.
    http://www.newschoolsnetwork.org/sites/default/files/Crunch%20Time%20Secondary%20School%20choice%20deadline%20day.pdf

  8. Some context:
    84.2% applicants were offered a place at their first choice
    of secondary school in 2015, down 1.0 percentage points from 85.2% in 2014. 

    96.4% of applicants receiving an offer of any of their preferred
    schools at secondary level in 2015, down 0.4 percentage points from 96.8% in
    2014.

    87.8% The proportion of applicants to primary school offered a place at their
    first choice of school, virtually unchanged from 87.7% in 2014  

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/434669/SFR17-2015_Apps_and_offers.pdf

    Note the words ‘virtually unchanged’.  This suggests NSN is exaggerating a little.
    The NSN’s graph shows a steep decline but that’s because the vertical scale begins at 82.50% and ends at 87%.  This scale gives a false impression.
    http://www.newschoolsnetwork.org/sites/default/files/Crunch%20Time%20Secondary%20School%20choice%20deadline%20day.pdf

  9. More context re schools’ results getting ‘worse’.  The proportion reaching the GCSE benchmark of 5 GCSEs A*-C including Maths and English has declined since 2013:
    2013: 60.6%
    2014: 56.6%
    2015 (provisional): 56.1%
    This would suggest a drop in results in many schools.  This doesn’t necessarily mean the schools don’t offer a satisfactory education or better.
    That said, some of the free schools with GCSE results (admittedly only a tiny number of free schools did so) had poor results.  The two free schools run by the Seckford Foundation, for example  http://schoolsweek.co.uk/free-school-disappoints-with-28-gcse-rate/, the Maharishi Free School provisional 2015 figures 40% down from 53% in 2014 (to be fair – only 15 took GCSEs in 2015, any slight difference in performance would have a disproportionate effect on the percentage figures) and schools described as ‘Free School – Studio School’ and ‘Free School – University Technology College’ also did poorly.

  10. NSN claims the free school Bradford Girls’ Grammar is the most oversubscribed secondary school in England with ‘856 applications for only 53 places’.  If the school is oversubscribed again for 2016 then it would appear parents aren’t too bothered about ‘worse’ exam results.  GCSE results at the school dropped from 90% in 2014 to 75% (provisional) in 2015.
    It would appear, then, NSN is actually encouraging parents to apply to a school with falling results.

  11. TW

    New Schools Network – an organisation paid for by the government with taxpayers’ money to peddle propaganda supported by the far Right of the Tory party.

Let us know what you think...