Durham County Council is one of the country’s most successful local authorities when it comes to helping children and parents get their first choice of school. Around 95% of pupils in County Durham manage to get a place at their preferred school.
In light of this information, councillors will soon be asked to approve a continuation of the current school admissions policy for community and voluntary controlled schools in County Durham for the 2018-19 academic year.
All admissions boards – including the governing bodies for voluntary, aided and foundation schools and the relevant trusts for academies and free schools – have to agree their policies on how places are allocated, including measures to deal with the possibility of over-subscription, on an annual basis.
In County Durham, the 2016-17 academic year saw 93.5% of primary school children and 96.1% of secondary school children receive a place at their first choice of school. This compares favourably with the national picture, in which just 88.4% of primary school pupils and 84.1% of secondary school pupils got offered a place at their preferred school.
In view of this success rate, Durham County Council says that it sees no need to make largescale changes to the current system.
Councillor Ossie Johnson, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said, “The current admissions system for community and voluntary controlled schools is ensuring that almost all pupils receive a place at a school of their choice and so we would look to continue in the same way for applications from September 2018.”
A report – which suggests no major changes to the current admissions system, but just recommends some small changes regarding the numbers of pupils at some schools – will be presented to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday 8th February.
Government figures from 2015 show that, nationally, the primary school population is expected to rise by 6% by 2019 and 8% by 2024. The secondary school population is expected to go up by 20% by 2024.