Improvement for secondary school allocations in Brighton and Hove

57 pupils in the Dorothy Stringer and Varndean catchment were not given places at either school
57 pupils in the Dorothy Stringer and Varndean catchment were not given places at either school

The majority of children in Brighton and Hove will go to their preferred secondary school, with 84 per cent getting their first choice.

But 57 pupils who applied for their popular catchment areas schools - Dorothy Stringer and Varndean - were given a place elsewhere.

Brighton and Hove City Council said students getting their first choice (2,115 pupils) is up by two per cent on last year.

Students getting their second preference for the 2017/18 academic year stood at 6.9 per cent (174 students) and 3.2 per cent got their third preference (81 students).

The total amount of applications is also up this year at 2,517 compared to 2,429 last year.

But 5.8 per cent (147 pupils) did not get any of their three top preferences.

The council said those who were not offered a place at one of their preferred schools were offered places at the nearest school to their home that had places available.

These included 57 pupils in the Dorothy Stringer and Varndean catchment area who expressed a preference for these schools.

Appeals relating to school place allocations are heard by an appeals panel that is independent of the council. The panel is not bound by the council’s admission priorities, and its decisions are binding on the council and on schools.

Councillor Dan Chapman, chair of the children, young people and skills committee, said: “I am delighted to see a rise in the numbers of parents offered their first preference school. Equally, I feel for parents who weren’t offered any of their preferences.

“The council has a legal duty to have enough school places available across the city as a whole for all residents who request one.

“We have always tried our best to ensure parents are offered a place in their catchment school if they apply for one. However, we have never been able to guarantee this.

“Dorothy Stringer and Varndean have both taken their full number of students this year. They are operating at the limits of their capacity, and expanding them further is simply not practical.

“Parents who aren’t offered a catchment area place will automatically be entered in the reallocation pool for their first preference school if a place become available.

“We recognise the need for a new secondary school in the central Brighton area of the city, but government rules mean councils are no longer allowed to open new schools.

“We have been working closely with the University of Brighton Academies Trust to help them find a permanent site for their new school, which is due to open in September 2018.

“We hope to be able to make an announcement about this shortly.”