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Over 95% of children get preferred primary school place


The anxious wait is over for parents of children starting school in Rotherham after finding out if their application to attend their preferred school was successful.

Last week saw National Offer Day for children starting Primary School or moving up from Infants to Juniors at the start of the next school year, starting in September.

In Rotherham, the Council has maintained its above national average performance once again and nearly all local children will start at a Primary or Junior school of their parents choosing.

This year the Council has been able to offer 95.3% of parents their first preference school place, which is an improvement on the 94.4% achieved in 2021. The national average in 2021 was 91.8% (source: Department for Education).

A further 2.7% of parents have been offered their second preference and 0.5% their third preference, meaning 98.5% have been offered one of their three choices. This is the same high-level performance as in 2021 and higher than the national 98.4% average from last year (source: Department for Education).

Just over 2,800 applications for places were received this year for places in Rotherham.

Councillor Victoria Cusworth, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Rotherham Council, said: “The Council works hard, with the support of local schools, developers and health services, to ensure places are keeping pace with predicted demand in line with birth rates, residential developments and other factors.

“I am pleased that, once again, Rotherham remains ahead of the curve, It’s great that so many children starting their journey in education will do so at their preferred school – and this follows another exemplary set of results for children moving to secondary school earlier this year where again, performance is well ahead of the rest of the country.

For the 44 children who could not be accommodated at any of their three preferred schools, all will be offered a place at either a school in their catchment area or the next nearest school with places available.

Unfortunately, there are more than 20 children who applied for places at the new Waverley Junior Academy who could not be accommodated due to the number of entry school age children living in new housing developments in the area greatly outstripping population predictions, based on a nationally recognised formula.

The Academy was opened as a two form (60 pupils per year group) primary school as part of the first phase. There are future plans to provide additional primary education places, however these are linked to trigger points being reached to release further funding from developers.  

For those children who haven’t secured a place at one of their preferred schools, parents are offered the legal right of appeal, with all appeals being heard by an independent panel. The decisions of the independent panel are legally binding on all parties.

The Council also maintains a waiting list until 31 December and will work closely with the families involved to ensure that they are supported throughout this process.

Tom Austen
Tom grew up in Aston, Rotherham and studied Human Geography at Nottingham Trent University before developing a passion for promoting Rotherham and a nose for a good story.


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