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Suffolk and Essex parents today discover if they have received a first-choice primary school place

PUBLISHED: 00:01 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:58 18 April 2017

Families today find out if they have received a first-choice primary school place. Picture: DAVE THOMPSON/PA WIRE

Families today find out if they have received a first-choice primary school place. Picture: DAVE THOMPSON/PA WIRE

More families have been awarded a place at their preferred choice of primary school in Suffolk and Essex this year.

Education chiefs credited school expansion projects for providing around nine in 10 parents in both counties with their favoured primary school for this September.

But hundreds of parents will also find out today that they have been unsuccessful in receiving their first choice reception class place for their child.

In Suffolk, 94% of first-choice applications were honoured. This is up from 90.71% last year. But the number of applications fell by 299, down to 7,621 this year.

The 6% of families who did not receive their preferred choice equates to 457. In total, 98.5% of parents received one of their top three preferences.

The number of online applications rose from 78% to 93% this year. Those who did will receive an email today revealing if they were successful. Those who applied by post will receive a letter in the coming days.

Sue Cook, director for children and young people at Suffolk County Council, said: “At a time when many areas across the UK are facing real issues in finding enough primary school places, I am delighted we have been able to give most parents a place for their child at the schools they want.

“I thank our admissions and place planning teams for their hard work, as well as to schools for their flexibility in accommodating the growth in primary aged children that we have experienced in recent years.”

In Essex,a record percentage of children were offered a place at their parents’ first preference of primary school.

Some 89.37% were successful in securing their first choice, up from 87.4% last year.

A further 6.23% have been offered their second preference.

The percentage of parents not be offered any of their preferences and offered a place at the nearest school with an available place also fell below 2% for the first time.

Essex County Council says it has created more than 5,500 school places in the last two years.

A spokesman for the authority said: “(Today’s news) comes after a record breaking number of pupils were offered their top preference of secondary school earlier this year and is testament to the hard work of schools, admissions staff and those involved in planning school expansion projects and school improvement.”

How to appeal: Suffolk

If you have been refused a place at a preferred school, you will automatically be put on a waiting list for that school in case a place becomes available.

But you have the right to appeal the decision. The Education Appeals Office arranges appeals for:

- All local authority and voluntary controlled schools

- All local authority voluntary aided schools

- The majority of academies

You need to download, complete and post an appeal form, which is available from Suffolk County Council’s website. See here for a link. (If the link does not work, visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/children-families-and-learning/schools/school-places/education-admission-appeals-and-permanent-exclusion-reviews)

You can also phone 01473 264219 or 01473 264218 or email educationappeals@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk

For a comprehensive School Admissions FAQ, see here.

How to appeal: Essex

There are online and paper appeal forms available from Essex County Council. See here (www.essex.gov.uk/Education-Schools/Schools/Admissions/Pages/Appeals.aspx)

The website provides details and a timetable of the appeals process, but warns that less than 4% of the 556 appeals last year were successful in Essex.

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