The number of children allocated places at their first choice secondary school has risen slightly in Brighton and Hove.
First preferences were offered to 2,161 pupils, up from 2,115 last year.
The year group is bigger – 2,569 children compared with 2,517 – but the proportion of first choice offers also rose slightly from 84 per cent to 84.1 per cent.
This equates to almost 17 out of 20 against a backdrop of a debate about catchment areas and the increasingly unlikely prospect of a new secondary school in Brighton.
Four secondary schools have offered to take extra pupils – Blatchington Mill, Dorothy Stringer, Patcham High and Varndean – to cope with rising numbers.
The number of pupils offered none of their first three preferences has fallen this year to 137 (5.3 per cent) from 147 (5.8 per cent).
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Nearly 95 per cent of families applying were offered one of their preferences.”
Second preference offers were made to 197 children (7.7 per cent), up slightly from 174 (6.9 per cent).
Third preference offers were made to 74 pupils (2.9 per cent), down slightly from 81 (3.2 per cent).
Children who weren’t offered a place at one of their preferred schools were offered places at the nearest school to their home with places available.
The council said: “In most cases the reason these families weren’t offered one of their preferences was either because they had failed to meet the applications deadline or because they didn’t apply for their catchment area school or both schools if they were in a dual catchment area.
“The council’s prediction for the number of families across the city as a whole applying for places was more than 99 per cent accurate.”
Councillor Dan Chapman, who chairs the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said: “Secondary pupil numbers are currently increasing, with demand up by more than 50 places this year.
“I’m delighted that despite this we have managed to offer 46 more families their preferred school – and seen a drop in the number who weren’t offered any of their preferences.
“Clearly this has been helped by the recent decisions for some schools to admit more pupils as of this September.
“The total number of places available will increase again in September 2019 when Dorothy Stringer will also start taking extra pupils.
“We are acutely aware of the pressures in the Dorothy Stringer and Varndean catchment area.
“And with this in mind we are helping fund the expansions of both schools to meet the demand for extra places in the next few years.
“This was a big factor in our decision that the benefits of leaving the catchment areas as they are outweighed the possible benefits of the changes that had been proposed.”
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