Wait for secondary school places is over

Thousands of families across Lancashire will find out today if their youngsters’ have got a place at a secondary school of their choice. .

By Sonja Astbury
Friday, 1st March 2019, 8:02 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 9:07 am
Secondary school places are out
Secondary school places are out

Nationally, record numbers of youngsters across England are expected to miss out on their top choice, according to the Good Schools Guide, as demand outstrips places in some areas.

However, Lancashire pupils are expected to fare better than their peers in many places, but some won’t get into their first choice and others may not get into either of their three preferred choices.

Latest figures show the number of secondary school -aged students in the county will rise by 14 per cent over the next five years.

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Forecasts from the Department for Education show that the area will have 75,480 students between 11 and 16 years old in 2023-24, 9,512 more than at the start of this academic year.

The 79,142 secondary places available in 2016-17 in Lancashire are said to be enough to meet demand in five years, unlike in 71 English councils where students demand is growing at a higher pace than schools capacity.

Lancashire County Council has a statutory duty to ensure it has enough school places and offers parents a choice of “preferred options.”

In a recent statement the county’s cabinet member for schools Coun Susie Charles as did the county has a team of officers who minor the situation using a range of data.

She added: “We produce a School Place Provision Strategy and this informs us of the numbers of children attending out schools, together with the projected impact of new housing developments that are planned for the next five years.”

Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:

“While we hope as many children as possible get their first choice school place, we have long warned that the number of children needing secondary school places is growing at a far faster rate than the number of places available.

“This is why councils need to be given the powers to help solve this crisis. As a starting point they should be allowed to open new maintained schools and direct academies to expand.

“It makes no sense for councils to be given the responsibility to plan for school places but then not allowed to open schools themselves.

“It is only by working with councils, rather than shutting them out, that we can meet the challenges currently facing the education system.”