THOUSANDS of children across the city will be offered places at secondary schools today (Monday 2 March) – with a substantial increase in those being offered their first choice.
Last year, 78.1 per cent of applicants who applied on-time were offered their first preference school. This year, that jumped to 84.6 per cent. In addition, a higher number of applicants - compared to the last three years - secured a place at one of their preferred schools. This year, more than 95 per cent of applicants secured a place at one of their preferred schools, compared to 91.7 per cent last year.
Today – 2 March – is National Offer Day, when children up and down the country learn which secondary school they will attend for the 2020/21 academic year.
In Leicester, 4,793 applications were received on time. Of those, 4,053 (84.6 per cent) received their first preference, 387 (8.1 per cent) their second preference,106 (2.2 per cent) their third preference and 29 (0.6 per cent) their fourth preference.
In total 95.4 per cent of applicants were offered a place at one of their top four schools, with the remaining 4.6 per cent offered alternative places.
Every applicant who applied on time was offered a place at a school.
This year is the first year that the city council offered families the chance to choose four preferences, rather than three – and as a result fewer families – only 218, or 4.6 per cent, were offered a place at a school they did not choose, compared to 8.3 per cent, or 401 of 4,830 families last year.
Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, assistant city mayor for education, said: “I’m really pleased to see that the vast majority of applicants – 95.4 per cent – gained a place at one of their preferred schools, with most getting their first choice. It’s also great news that there’s been a big percentage increase in numbers getting their first preference.
“Offering a fourth preference has also helped, as it means fewer offers are made of a place at a school families haven’t chosen.
“We know starting secondary school can be an anxious time for families, and we do all we can to make the applications process as straightforward as possible while meeting demand – and meeting families’ choices in all but five per cent of cases.
“‘We still have an issue with a very small minority of parents who only put down one preference believing it will help their chances. What this in fact does is significantly raise the chance you will be offered a place outside of your local area, so we would encourage every applicant to always use all four preferences.
“We have made sure that, once again, no-one who applies on time is without a place.”
The vast majority of families now apply online, meaning parents can view their results on offer day, rather than having to wait for a letter to be posted out to them.