Revealed: Postcode lottery as 1 in 7 Yorkshire families miss out on first choice secondary schools

AROUND ONE-in-seven pupils in Yorkshire missed out on their first choice of secondary school this year, new Government figures reveal.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th June 2016, 2:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:58 pm

There are also big variations in people’s chances of getting the place they wanted across primary and secondaries in Yorkshire.

School places are decided on by local councils and today’s figures give a full breakdown of how many applicants were successful in each education authority in the country.

The new tables show that parents in Yorkshire face a postcode lottery with their chance of success varying depending on where they live.Parents and children in Bradford were the least likely in the region to get their first choice secondary school.

The figures from the Department for Education show that more than a quarter - 28 per cent - did not got their top choice.

And 6.5 per cent of the 7,400 who applied for secondary places in the district did not get into any of their chosen secondary schools.

Elsewhere around one-in-five applicants missed out on their first choice secondary in both Hull and Calderdale.

In Hull 81 per cent of pupils got into their first choice and 95 per cent were allocated a place at one of their choices of school.

In Calderdale 80.8 per cent were given their top choice secondary and 96 per cent got a place at one of the schools they had opted for.

However in other parts of Yorkshire, almost all applicants were successful in securing a place at their first choice school.

In the East Riding 96.8 per cent of people were given their first choice while in Rotherham the figure was 96.3 per cent. Parents in Barnsley and Doncaster were also highly likely to get their first choice - with just over 95 per cent being successful in both education authority areas.

In Sheffield 87.2 per cent of parents got into their first choice of secondary and 90.1 per cent got into their first choice primary.

The pressure on school places is also revealed in the figures as it shows there 5,877 applications for 5,727 places across the city’s secondary schools last year.

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said that the Government needs to address the disparity in parents of chances of getting a good school in different parts of the country.

He said; “We’ve seen the proportion of parents getting their children into a school of their choice broadly remain static compared to last year, but wide regional variations are clear. The massive increase in pupil numbers over the next few years will make this even harder.

“The government should look carefully at the regional variations in first preference rates, for both secondary and primary schools. National figures do not reflect the reality of many communities.

“Under the government’s education plans, local authorities will have the responsibility for ensuring adequate school places, but will have no real powers or funding to do so. It must look again at these plans.

The figures also show that parents have a better chance of getting into their first choice school in Yorkshire than the national average.

87.1 per cent of applicants in Yorkshire got into their first choice secondary compared with 84.1 per cent nationally and 90.7 per cent got into their first choice primary in Yorkshire compared with 88.4 per cent nationally.

Nationally around one-in-six children in England missed out on a place at their top choice of secondary school this year.

In total, 84.1 per cent of 11-year-olds across the country were given a spot at their first preference, compared with 84.2 per cent in 2015.

The latest Department for Education statistics also show that 88.4 per cent of youngsters seeking primary school places were offered their first choice, up from 87.8 per cent last year.

This means that almost one in eight did not receive their top preference.

As in previous years, London had the lowest proportion of applicants receiving an offer of their first choice school at 68.8% - meaning almost a third missed out.

The South West was the region with the highest proportion of first choice offers at 91.9%, followed by the North East at 91.8%.

Data for primary schools shows there were 641,572 applications in 2016, a 0.8% increase on 2015 (636,279).

Government statisticians noted: “This is a lower rate of increase than between 2014 and 2015 (2.0%) and, with birth figures showing a drop in 2013, the increasing numbers of primary applications may soon start to level out.”


Tables show (L-R) number of school places, applicants and percentage getting their first choice school


Barnsley 2,520 2,308 95.1

Bradford 7,400 7,371 72.0

Calderdale 2,837 2,395 80.8

Doncaster 3,763 2,891 95.5

East Riding 4,167 3,219 96.8

Hull, 2,810 2,849 81.0

Kirklees 4,780 4,589 85.7

Leeds 8,615 8,060 83.7

North East Lincs 2,003 1,734 91.6

North Lincs 2,232 1,848 91.5

North Yorkshire 7,604 5,626 93.0

Rotherham 3,480 2,901 96.3

Sheffield 5,727 5,877 87.2

Wakefield 4,199 3,281 93.9

York 1,933 1,799 90.9


Barnsley 3,089 2,790 89.6

Bradford 8,322 7,724 88.6

Calderdale 2,983 2,566 89.2

Doncaster 4,274 3,237 96.3

East Riding 4,077 3,388 95.9

Hull 3,650 3,666 87.5

Kirklees 5,909 5,316 89.9

Leeds 10,549 9,956 87.3

North East Lincs 2,154 1,829 92.1

North Lincs 2,174 1,922 94.4

North Yorkshire 7,348 5,961 93.6

Rotherham 3,689 3,238 90.5

Sheffield 6,778 6,392 90.1

Wakefield 4,376 3,773 93.1

York 2,131 1,958 94.6