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Alfie gets into the spirit of World Book Day

Alfie is dressed up as Harry O'Hay Credit: Natalie Boare

Thousands of children across the region are dressing up in celebration of World Book Day.

Three-year-old Alfie Boare from Southampton is dressed up as Harry O'Hay from The Scarecrows' Wedding.

Each year schools are invited to embrace the event. The World Book Day Award challenge also encourages schools to create their own 'world of stories' inspired by a children's book.

One in five Reading pupils fails to win place at secondary school they wanted

How many pupils secured places at the secondary schools they wanted? Credit: itv meridian

The number of pupils in Reading who have secured places at the secondary schools they wanted for September has fallen to less than 80 per cent.

In total, 78.4 per cent of applicants were given their first choice - down by nearly four per cent on last year.

But the total number of applications is up - from 1,702 last year to 1,805 this. It comes against a backdrop of a rising number of 11 year olds in the system.

The number of pupils given none of their choices who have been allocated schools by the local authority is also up.

The full figures for the Borough are below.

First preference: 78.4 per cent (82.3 per cent in 2016)

Second preference: 12.7 per cent (12.2 per cent in 2016)

Third preference: 4.2 per cent (2.6 per cent in 2016)

Fourth preference: 1 per cent (1.3 per cent in 2016)

Divert (where no preference options are offered): 3.7 per cent (1.7 per cent in 2016)

Education expert says parents who missed out may well get schools they want before term starts

Education expert Peter Read has urged parents to be patient, join waiting lists and consider launching an appeal if their child hasn't been given the secondary school place they wanted for September.

In Kent one in five pupils has missed out on their number one choice of secondary.

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One in five pupils in Kent fails to secure place at the school they wanted

One in five pupils from Kent applying for secondary school in September has failed to secure a place at the school they wanted.

Figures released today show 80 per cent of the 16,697 applicants were allocated to their number one choice of school.

That left more than 3,500 having to settle for second best. It comes at a time when school places are under increasing pressure as a population bulge that was affecting primary schools starts to move through to the secondary years.

Kent alone has created an additional 800 places for this coming school year.

Education boss Cllr Roger Gough says it's "regrettable" that not every pupil receives a place at the school they would like, but the council is doing its best.

'Parents moving in to attend good quality Hampshire schools' says education boss

Cllr Peter Edgar, Cabinet Member for Education at Hampshire County Council, says more and more people are moving into the county to take advantage of the top quality schools there.

This year more than 13,500 applications were received - only seven per cent failed to win places at their number one choice of school.

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