Almost one in four children across Bradford did not get a place at their first choice of secondary school, it has been revealed.

Figures released by Bradford Council last night show that 76.02 per cent – 5,383 – of applicants got their preferred option, with the rest left disappointed.

Last year, the figure was about 77 per cent.

Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said there were three key issues for Bradford: growing numbers of children; the number of people filling out applications with only one school preference on; and a delay on a new school for the city.

Coun Berry said the figure would improve as 115 places were likely to become available when a new Dixons Academy opens later this year.

“We will be working really, really hard to ease this situation,” said Coun Berry, who added that there were seven applications for every place at some schools.

“The people in admissions are doing nothing short of an amazing job. A system this tight, to get to this level of figure, I think it is remarkable.”

He added: “There have been 250 additional kids in the high school system with the last year.

“Numbers are rising. Capacity is not keeping up with demand. The system is under a lot of pressure. We get more kids appearing every week.”

Coun Berry urged parents to always put more than one school down when applying for places.

“About 70 who have received a school that they did not apply for had only put one preference on the form – we ask for five,” he said. “At the end of the day we are having to allocate places to where they are available. I am up for ideas for improvement.”

Nationally, figures show that there are other pockets of the country where almost one in four 11-year-olds missed out on a spot at their preferred secondary school while in others virtually all youngsters got a place at their top pick.

Last year, almost 66,500 youngsters (13.3 per cent) nationally were not offered a place at their first choice of secondary, according to the statistics.