The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said a record rate of overcrowded schools nationally is being driven by increased demand for secondary places, compounded by "perceptions linked to Ofsted reports".
According to data from the Department for Education (DfE), six secondary schools from in and around Preston were above full capacity as of May 1, 2021.
This is up by two from 2018-19 – the most recent comparable year due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions – when there were four overcrowded schools.
It meant in the year 2020-2021, 5230 pupils in Preston and its surrounding areas were affected by overcrowded schools, putting them among around 880,000 nationwide.
A school is classed as in excess of capacity when the number of pupils enrolled is greater than its number of places.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said: “The increasing demand for secondary places is complicated by perceptions linked to Ofsted reports with higher-rated schools often heavily oversubscribed and significant spare capacity at lower-rated schools.
“It drives a vicious cycle with improvement harder to secure in schools which face the greatest challenges.
"The current approach needs a rethink so that it is more supportive and less punitive, and so that every family has access to a good local school place.”
Here a list of all the schools from in and around Preston that were above full capacity according to the most recent DfE figure.