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Nottinghamshire County Council cabinet member for Education and SEND said that more than 98% of children in the county offered one of their top secondary school places

The vast majority of children in Nottinghamshire due to start secondary education in September have been offered one of their top four choices of school.

The rate has risen slightly compared to last year, to more than 98 per cent, despite an increase in demand on Nottinghamshire County Council for school places. Last year 97.1 per cent were given a place at one of their listed preferences.

A total of 91 per cent of children were given their parent’s first preference and six per cent were offered their second.

Pictured: Sam Smith
Pictured: Sam Smith

Last year, 89.6 per cent were offered their first choice.

Families had greatest success in Mansfield and Bassetlaw, while Ashfield and Rushcliffe had the lowest rate of offers.

The council says it is investing in school places in areas where fewer children were successful in receiving one of their chosen places.

It was criticised last year after awarding one child a place 15 miles away from her home.

This year the furthest distance was seven miles, which was a student whose family didn’t fill out all four preferences on the application form.

The council has urged parents to accept at least one place by March 15 to avoid being left without a school.

They then have until April 15 to appeal to schools where they were unsuccessful.

Here’s how many received one of their first four preferences in each district and borough:

Ashfield – 97.5 per cent

Bassetlaw – 99.1 per cent

Broxtowe – 97.5 per cent

Gedling – 97.9 per cent

Mansfield – 98 per cent

Newark – 99.6 per cent

Rushcliffe – 97.2 per cent

Councillor Sam Smith, the cabinet member for Education and SEND, said: “Of the 9,500 applicants, 98 per cent have been given one of their first four preferences, which is fantastic news for the children and their families.

“There’s been more applications this year due to housebuilding and families moving into Nottinghamshire, but a greater percentage received their top choices.

“We are confident we’re performing well compared with other counties.

“In Ashfield district, which had the joint lowest rate at 97.5 per cent, a large proportion of families only put one preference down. They are then at the back of the queue to get into other schools.

“We’re putting in millions of pounds into areas of high demand like Rushcliffe, where £26m has created 500 new places at Rushcliffe Spencer Academy, and Gedling where secondary schools have received £13.5m.

“We use a five-year-forecast of housing demand and birth rates to work out how many school places we will need in future, and we can then ask the property department to build new schools or extensions to existing schools.”

He added: “It’s really important parents accept an offer before the deadline to avoid being without a school place in September.”

Families will be notified by email if they provided an address, and should otherwise receive a letter in the next few days.

Applications which were submitted or changed after the October deadline will be processed from Monday, March 18, and parents will be informed after Wednesday, March 27.

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