PARENTS and carers across the country will be finding out today if their child got their first-choice of school places.

A lot of children will be heading to the secondary school they desired, but - according to the Good Schools Guide, more than 100,000 children in England will not be offered their first-choice secondary place.

Analysis of government data by the Guide estimates that record numbers of families will be left disappointed as a result of a shortage of places and the most popular schools being oversubscribed.

Depending on the local authority, parents were requested to list three to six schools in order of preference on the application submitted in October 2018. The number of children expected to receive offers to a ‘non-preferred school’ - ie a school not on their preference list - is also predicted to rise, having accounted for 4.1 per cent of applicants last year.

With an estimated 606,000 children applying for places – an increase of 23,000 on 2018 - The Good Schools Guide had previously urged parents to research school choices carefully as the demographic bulge currently working its way from primary to secondary schools is causing many schools to be oversubscribed.

Bernadette John, director at The Good Schools Guide, said: “Secondary school can be key to unlocking a child’s potential, so no wonder parents are dismayed when the place they get is for an undesirable school.

"It has been known for a long time that secondary schools would need to accommodate increased pupil numbers but little action seems to have been taken. In recent years, some local authorities have struggled to find enough places at primary school level and now we have begun to see the impact on secondary schools. And, for the next few years, it will get worse.

"Some parts of the country simply do not have enough places to satisfy local demand and elsewhere, many underperforming schools are rejected by families, resulting in the desperate rush as parents put their hopes in the good local school which, of course, is hugely oversubscribed.”

But the last thing a parent or carer should do is reject the school they've been offered.

Here's his advice.

Ms John concludes: “However, the worst thing parents can do is to immediately reject the school offered, no matter how unwelcome.

"They need to hold this place while they research their options, which might include appealing to preferred schools or applying to other schools.”

The Good Schools Guide advises disappointed parents to keep a clear head.

The Guide says parents should consider doing the following things:

  • Accepting the place your child has been offered may go against instinct but it is the wise thing to do. If you don’t accept this initial offer, you run the risk of your child having no school to go to in September.
  • Once you have accepted that place, you can try to get on the waiting lists of schools you prefer – even those to which you didn’t originally apply. All kinds of things can happen between now and the start of the new academic year which could result in places being freed up.
  • Check out the school you’ve been allocated in greater detail. It might be better than you fear. A bad local reputation could be based on out-of-date information such as an old Ofsted report. Check out last year’s public exam results. You could even speak to parents at the school gate.
  • It is your legal right to appeal to any of the schools on your original application. There is no need for a solicitor but a number of organisations, including The Good Schools Guide, can provide assistance.
  • In the end you may have little choice but for your child to attend the school you’ve been given, no matter how much you dislike it. The job of getting your child settled there will be much harder if they know how negatively you view it. Try not to talk the school down too much when they’re around.

Primary school places will be announced later this year.