Published: 00:01, 01 March 2018
A record number of children have applied for a place at one of Kent’s secondary schools this year - and close to 80% are set to get their first choice.
In total 20,731 applications were made - up 1,320 on last year and more than double last year’s increase.
Of those, 13,891 were allocated a place at their first choice school (79%) compared to 13,418 (80%) last year.
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Some 1,937 children were allocated a second choice school, compared to 1,061 last year - representing a rise of 776.
But at the same time, the number of children not allocated a place at any of their four choices increased again.
There were 765 children that KCC has chosen a school for this year, compared to 633 in 2017, an increase of 132.
And there was another rise in the number of applications from outside the county, with 3,289 seeking places compared to 2,744 in 2017, an increase of 545.
However, the number of those actually offered places was 818 - just ten more than last year.
Parents will be finding out from 4pm today the outcome of their applications, either via email or through their online accounts.
For families who applied on paper forms, offers went out by first class post today and letters should arrive over the next few days.
Education officials say they expect that when appeals are dealt with, the net result will be an increase in those allocated places at one of their chosen schools.
Cllr Roger Gough, KCC cabinet member for education, said: “The growth in demand for Kent school places is an ongoing challenge and I congratulate our officers and Kent schools for continuing to support KCC in ensuring we do everything possible to enable children to access a good local school.
"I continue to be encouraged, that despite the growing challenges year on year, children of Kent families are being offered a record number of first preference school places, up to 13,891, and that in addition to this, a further 1,937 children received their second preference offer.
"Securing such high numbers of parental preference shows families have confidence in their local schools and it is testament to the great work delivered by the excellent staff in Kent schools in raising education standards.”
"Unfortunately, each year a number of parents cannot be offered a place at one of their named schools.
"We cannot therefore underestimate the disappointment felt by the 765 children who will be allocated a school by us.”
Cllr Gough encouraged parents not to write off schools that were not one of their choices.
"This is the very first stage of the school allocation process and I would like to reassure parents that a specialist KCC team is on hand to help with any queries they may have," he added.
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