The Telegraph reports that more than half a million families in England will learn which school their child will attend in September, on what is known as “national offer day”.
The number of pupils who fail to get a place at their preferred school is due to rise by seven per cent this year, according to analysis by the Good Schools Guide. Their research indicates that one in five children will fail to secure a place at their first choice school, up from around one in six last year.
Families in urban areas are most likely to be affected by the shortfall in places, with parts of London, Greater Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham expected to receive more applications than they have school places.
Bernadette John, director of The Good Schools Guide, said that DfE officials have failed to address the problem of insufficient school places, despite the growing numbers of pupils.
“It is incredibly stressful for parents when their child is offered a place at a school a long journey from home, or with a damning Ofsted report, or which for very good reasons they have not chosen for their child,” she said.
Justine Roberts, chief executive of Mumsnet, said parents who “cheat the system” to secure their child a place at a good schools “adds to people’s anxiety and sense of injustice”.
The Government has said that it intends to create 500 more free schools by 2020. However, a Public Accounts Committee report last year warned that in some cases new free schools are being built in areas where there is no demand for extra places, meaning they will do little to dampen the squeeze on places.
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