The DfE has published the data on offers made regarding admission to primary and secondary schools for September 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/secondary-and-primary-school-application-and-offers-2019
In view of the growing number of pupils in the transfer age group from primary to secondary school, now almost universally at age eleven, the percentage of pupils receiving their first choice of schools fell again this year to just 80.9%.
|Entry into academic year||% made 1st preference offer|
The percentage successful at gaining a place at their first choice schools has now declined every years since 2013/14 when it reach a high of 86.7%. Of course, there are significant regional differences, as well as differences between urban and rural areas.
As the DfE points out in the report: Northumberland (98.4%) and North Somerset (96.9%) achieved the best first preference rates in 2019. Northumberland has been the top performer in this measure for the last four years.
As in previous years, the lowest first preference rates at secondary level are all in London, Lambeth (54.8%), Lewisham (56.9%) and Hammersmith & Fulham (57.3%) achieved the lowest rates in 2019.
Central Bedfordshire is now the only local authority to submit secondary data for year 9 as their largest secondary intake. They had the third best percentage of transfer to secondary school to their middle schools that are classified as secondary schools.
Interestingly, there is no comment by the DfE on the transfer of pupils at age 14 to the UTCs and Studio schools. Presumably, anyone that wants to go to these schools can secure a place.
There was a small fall in first preference rates in the primary sector this year, down from 91.0% last year to 90.6% this year, but this is still well above the 87.7% of 2014/15.
This year there were 608,200 applications for a primary school place, virtually the same as last year, but the 604,500 applications for a secondary place represented an increase of 3.6% over last year, and just over 100,000 more than the lowest year of 2013/14.
There are implications in teacher supply for this increase in the secondary school population. The increase has been factored into the Teacher Supply Model by DfE civil servants.
What hasn’t been factored into the real world situation is the shortfall against the Teacher Supply Numbers in many subjects as far as trainee teacher numbers are concerned.
As this blog has pointed out in other posts, even assuming the DfE projections on retention and returner numbers are correct, not recruiting enough trainees can have real implications for schools.
As piece of research in California has demonstrated that it is the schools serving the more deprived neighbourhoods that suffer most when it comes to recruiting teachers when there is an overall shortfall. I fear the same is likely to be true in some parts of London, especially with the bonus on offer to some teachers to go and work in Opportunity Areas.