Battle to gain school places in Keighley district

Battle to gain school places in Keighley district

Battle to gain school places in Keighley district

First published in Keighley

Almost one in four children across the district did not get a place at their first choice of secondary school, it has been revealed.

Figures from Bradford Council show 76.02 per cent – 5,383 – of applicants got their preferred option. The figure was about 77 per cent last year.

The Keighley News revealed last month that the town’s Holy Family Catholic School had 470 applications for just 150 places for the new academic year starting in September.

Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said there were three key issues for Bradford district: growing numbers of children, the number of people filling out applications with only one school preference stated and a delay on a new school for the city.

“We will be working really, really hard to ease this situation,” said Coun Berry, who added there were seven applications for every place at some schools.

“The people in admissions are doing nothing short of an amazing job. A system this tight, to get to this level of figure, I think it is remarkable.”

He added: “Numbers are rising. Capacity is not keeping up with demand. The system is under a lot of pressure. We get more kids appearing every week.

“About 70 who have received a school they did not apply for had only put one preference on the form – we ask for five.

“At the end of the day, we are having to allocate places to where they are available. I am up for ideas for improvement.”

Coun Roger L’Amie, the Tories’ education spokesman, said the challenge was to ensure all schools were of a standard that made parents happy to send their child there.

He added: “It is a matter of serious concern for the parents that did not get their choice.

“Clearly, there is still work to be done to improve the standard of education of every school in Bradford district so some schools are not over-subscribed.”

Nationally, figures show there are other pockets of the country where almost one in four 11-year-olds missed out on a spot at their preferred secondary school, while in others, virtually all youngsters applying got a place at their top pick.

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