Published: 10:53, 03 March 2008
MORE than 16,000 children will find out this week which secondary school they will be going to in September.
Kent County Council, which is responsible for administering secondary school admissions, has today sent out 16,300 letters telling parents the outcome of their applications on what has become known as the National Offer Day.
According to the council, there has been a small increase in the numbers missing out on their first preference school this year.
KCC says 70 per cent have been allocated their first preference school compared with 74 per cent last year, although there has been an increase in the number of pupils seeking places.
That means that of the 16,339 expecting news of their applications, more than 4,800 will not at this stage have received the school they most wanted.
The number receiving their second choice school rose to 17 per cent, compared to last year’s 16 per cent. Of the 16,339 Kent children applying, 95 per cent received a school named on their application form, a fall of one per cent on last year.
This is the first year that stricter rules on admissions have come into play under a new government code.
Cllr Mark Dance, cabinet member for education operations, said: "I would like to have seen the figure higher [for first preference successes] but we are at the peak in terms of the numbers in the county transferring to secondary school. As we transform our secondary schools through the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme and get underway with our vocational agenda, we will, as a county, have real choice and when we have free bus travel for youngsters across the county through the Freedom Pass, children will not be tied to their local schools."
Some parents who applied using KCC’s online service will be able to find out from 4pm today what has happened to their applications. More than 3,500 used the system this year despite technical problems which caused a computer crash last year.
Cllr Dance said: "This is a huge logistical exercise to ensure that the offers go out on time and it is pleasing that 95 per cent have been offered a school of their choice."
The next key date for parents who want to appeal is March 25.
Parents can appeal for a place at any of the schools named on their application form. Details of how to do this are included in the offer letter.
A specialist team of KCC call centre staff is also on hand to help parents on 01622 696565.
A Choice Adviser, who will be able to offer independent advice, is available on 01622 694073 or 01622 694065.