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Families hit out as more Bradford children fail to get first choice school
Hundreds of children in the district missed out on places at all their preferred primary schools, new figures have revealed.
A total of 302 children were allocated reception places at schools other than the five selected by their parents this year, up from 267 in 2011 – an increase of 13 per cent.
Of the 7,866 children due to start school in September, 96 per cent were allocated places at one of their preferred schools, including 6,736 who received their first-choice school.
Dan Smith’s four-year-old daughter Poppy has missed out on a place at all five of the schools selected by him and his partner.
The self-employed father-of-two says he will struggle to take her to Trinity All Saints, over a mile away, as he has no access to a car in the mornings and also cares for his two-year-old son.
Thirteen families of the 73 living in priority areas for Eldwick failed to gain reception places at the school for their children, he said.
“We were devastated,” he said. “We thought we would get at least one of our options. She’s in a class of 26 at the nursery and most of the children she knows will be going to Eldwick. She’s settled there and is expecting to go to that school. They go up to the school a lot and do stuff there. She keeps talking about going to ‘big school’.”
Another parent living in Denholme, who wished to remain anonymous, said her daughter had also missed out on all five choices.
She said: “I can understand you can’t always have your first, second or maybe even third choice but to ask you to choose five schools and not be offered any of them is atrocious. She’s not going to be able to make friends with children in the village because she won’t meet them through school.”
Furious parents in Otley have also missed out on places for the children at the town’s primary school and been told they must send them to school seven miles away in Cookridge, Leeds.
Sue Colman, Bradford Council’s assistant director for education and learning, said: “Some 96 per cent of the total applying received a school preferred by their families even though an additional 200 children were seeking places this time.
“The Council’s admissions team and schools dealt with 7,866 applications this year compared to 7,672 in 2011.
“The figures show that this year more children were allocated to a school for which the family expressed a preference – 7,564 compared to 7,405 in 2011.
“Of those, 6,736 were allocated to their first-preference school – a figure which has increased over the last three years from 6,330 in 2009.
“We are really pleased so many families have been allocated a place at a preferred school.”
Earlier this year, the Telegraph & Argus reported how forecasts showed pupil numbers across Bradford were predicted to rise by more than 4,439 primary school-aged children and 2,838 secondary pupils by 2015/2016 – 1,197 more than the current number of spare spaces.