Last Friday (16 April 2021) was National Primary Offer Day. This is when pupils who are starting primary school and pupils who are moving up to middle school found out whether they have been allocated one of their school preferences.
Over 3,200 Central Bedfordshire pupils applied for primary school places starting in September 2021, and 94% of children were allocated a place at their first choice in primary schools.
Last year, 95% of school starter applications received their first preference (the same as 2019). On Central Bedfordshire Council‘s (CBC) website, the council reports that “98 per cent of pupils offered one of their school preferences“. Why did CBC decide to combine the placements for a top three choice?
A council spokesperson said:
“We chose to combine the figures for the purpose of the press release, and this has no bearing on the admissions process which remains the same as in previous years.”
“The council continues to work hard to make sure that as many children as possible are allocated a place at their first choice of school, which is reflected in the number who were offered their first choice.”
This year, 91 per cent of starter school applications were made online. This is three percentage points lower than last year, despite many parents being in lockdown. The CBC spokesperson said:
“The reduction in online applications may be attributed to parents experiencing difficulties submitting their applications online. We are aware of a number of incidents where this was the case, so our school admissions team ensured that those parents could apply using a paper application.”
A full break down of primary school allocations can be found here.
Councillor Sue Clark, executive member for families, education and children, said:
“Taking into account a family’s school preference is incredibly important, and I’m really pleased that so many pupils will be attending one of their top three chosen schools.
“We want to make sure our families and young people have as much say as possible in their choice of school and the figures demonstrate that we’ve been able to deliver that. Good luck to all our pupils on their first day of school in September.”
For pupils that have applied to transfer to middle school from September 2021, 97 per cent have been offered one of their top three preferred choices. Over 2,200 applied for middle school places with 92 per cent applying online.
Anyone wishing to decline or change their offered place can do so by submitting a change of preference form which can be downloaded from the Central Bedfordshire Council website.
The deadline is 30 April 2021, with new offers going out on 7 June 2021 for those starting primary school, and 21 May for those transferring to middle school.