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Councils face squeeze on primary school places

In some areas four and five-year-olds will not got the place they wanted at a primary school. Credit: Thomas Eisenhuth/DPA/PA Images

A Press Association survey of local councils suggests that in some areas around one in 10 youngsters have not been offered their first choice of primary school, while in others, the figure is around one in six.

More than 500,000 four and five-year-olds are finding out today where they will be attending primary school from this September.

Initial figures show that in Kirklees, 90.4% of youngsters have got their first place, along with 90% in Oldham.

In East Sussex, 84.68% got their first choice, while in Southampton the percentage was 85.4%.

And in Kent it was 85.81% - this was up from 84.9% of infants in the county who got their top preference last year.

The results below show the proportion of children in each area of England who have secured a place at their first preference of primary school for September:

  • East Sussex - 84.68%
  • Southampton - 85.4%
  • Kent - 85.81%
  • Solihull - 87%
  • Manchester - 87.3%
  • Brighton & Hove - 87.8%
  • Leicester - 88%
  • Sandwell - 88.45%
  • Leicestershire - 88.7%
  • Wigan - 88.7%
  • Sheffield - 89.69%
  • Oldham - 90%
  • Kirklees - 90.4%

Parents await news on primary school placements

500,000 four and five-year-olds will find out where they will be going to primary school. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Families across England will find out today whether their child has been placed at their preferred primary school as concerns grow over 'supersized' classes.

Councils will send out details of where more than half a million four and five-year-olds will be attending school from this September.

But while for many parents 'National Offer Day' will bring joy and relief, others are set to experience disappointment.

A continuing squeeze on places - particularly at primary level - fuelled in part by a rising birth rate in recent years, combined with the effect of immigration in some areas - means that some parts of England are still struggling to accommodate every child.

Patrick Leeson of Kent County Council said: "Our schools admissions team has been working hard, as usual, to ensure that as many pupils as possible get a school from among their preferred choices and we are pleased to see that the number of both first and second choices has increased.

"However, we will not lose sight of the fact that four per cent of pupils have not been given a school from their preferences.

"While many will secure places through waiting lists and reallocation, I am aware that this will be a difficult time and we will do what we can to offer a good outcome.

Last year, 87.7% of youngsters were were awarded a place at their first-choice school, according to national figures for England, indicating that about 76,600 children lost out on their top pick.

Academy status for weak schools 'best for pupils'

The best action for primary schools that are "not stepping up to the mark" is for them to be taken over by academy sponsors, according to the Department for Education.

Schools with a long history of under-performance, and who are not stepping up to the mark, will be taken over by an academy sponsor.

The expertise and strong leadership provided by sponsors is the best way to turn around weak schools and give pupils there the best chance of a first-class education.

– Department for Education spokesman

Despite DfE findings that 767 schools are failing to meet the Government's new tougher targets, the data suggested that overall primary schools are improving.

Last year 834 primaries would have fallen below the new standards.


English primary schools 'failing in three Rs'

More than 700 primary schools in England fall below the Government's new tougher standards in reading, writing and arithmetic, Department for Education figures suggest.

Hundreds of English primary schools are failing to meet targets in reading, writing and arithmetic, official figures suggest. Credit: PA

For the first time, schools are judged on the number of children achieving at least a Level 4 - the standard expected of the age group - in reading, writing and maths.

They must ensure that at least 60% of pupils reach this level in all three subjects and meet national averages in pupil progress.

In previous years, they were rated on reading and writing combined to form an overall English result and maths, as well as progress.

The 767 schools that fail to meet the target are considered under-performing and face being taken over and turned into academies.

Primary school teacher gives birth in classroom

A primary school teacher got her baby son's education off to an early start - by giving birth to him in a classroom.

Diane Krish-Veeramany, 30, went into labour a week before she was due while working at Manford Primary School, in Chigwell, Essex.

Three colleagues acted as improvised midwives to help deliver her second child, Jonah, after she came out of a morning meeting.

Feeling the first pangs of labour, Mrs Krish-Veeramany called for her husband, Vijaye Veeramany, to come and pick her up.

We now joke that he was late for his first day at school as he was born after the bell.

The school have named the room he was born in after him - it's now called Jonah's Room.

– Diane Krish-Veeramany

Twenty minutes later she had delivered the baby with the help of teaching assistants Dita Gojnovci, Chris Sword and Sam Mustafa.

Youngsters 'need to know how to avoid' internet porn

There is no place for explicit materials in the classroom or school, even in the course of teaching about their dangers, but many young people are exposed to such materials on the internet and phones.

In the face of this young people need to know how to cope with and avoid these distorted views of relationships.

– Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers

Union chief: Primary school results 'excellent news'

Russell Hobby congratulated English primary schools on improved performance. Credit: PA

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said the results were "excellent news".

"It shows the hard work that's going on in the system and has been going on for some years."

He said the majority of primaries will not be academies, which shows that schools can improve "no matter what their status".

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