First choice primary school places hit record high

Recent data released by the DfE has revealed that 93.2 percent of primary school applicants secured a spot at their top-choice school for the upcoming September intake. This marks a significant increase in first-choice placements as application numbers continue to decline.

The latest figures show a 0.7 percentage point rise in preference school rates for primary applicants, reaching an all-time high of 93.2 percent. This surge in acceptance rates is the highest on record since primary admissions data was first made public in 2014.

In contrast, there was a 2.3 percent decrease in primary school applicants in 2023, attributed to declining birth rates since 2016. However, the number of applicants offered a place at their preferred secondary school rose by 0.3 percentage points to 82.9 percent, following a dip in 2023.

Regional disparities were evident in secondary school applications, with varying acceptance rates across different areas. Notably, Dorset and Sunderland boasted acceptance rates of 97.4 percent, while Hammersmith and Fulham and Lewisham reported lower rates of 62.4 percent and 63.2 percent, respectively.

London, renowned for its diverse school options, allows applicants to apply to up to six schools, potentially influencing parents to make more speculative choices for their top preferences, according to the DfE.

In terms of primary school placements, Cumberland, North East Lincolnshire, and Redcar and Cleveland excelled with a remarkable 99 percent highest first preference rate. Conversely, Kensington and Chelsea recorded the lowest rate at 75.4 percent, followed by Westminster at 82.1 percent.




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