1. ITV Report

Primary school places: helpline to offer support

Council has set up a helpline to offer parents support Photo: ITV West

Nearly 250 families will today discover they have failed to secure any of their three preferred choices of primary school in Bristol.

Of 5,321 on-time applications for children starting school in September, five per cent have been offered a school they didn't choose.

Bristol City Council have given 86% of parents their first choice school, up 4% on last year, but 246 have missed out altogether on their first three.

Cllr Clare-Campion Smith, the council's cabinet member for children and young people, is urging those unsuccessful applicants to visit the school they have been offered before making a judgement.

"Given the continued pressure on primary places in the city, I appreciate that this can be a very tense time for some families," she said.

The council has set up a helpline this weekend and every evening next week to offer parents support.

Bristol has seen demand for state primary school places grow by 20% over the last four years as a result of a rising birth rate and more families settling in the city.

The Government last week pledged a further £22.8 million for Bristol to speed up its plans to provide extra classroom in the areas most severely affected. It had earlier given a separate £19 million.

This year, the council spent £14 million creating 300 extra reception places by expanding existing schools with additional classrooms. The largest, Bishop Road Primary in Bishopston, will eventually grow to more than 900 pupils.

Parents have until May 4 to accept their offer or appeal.

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