More children likely to lose out in schools lottery next year

Posted On 08 Mar 2021 at 5:39 pm

Dozens more children are predicted to lose out on a place at their nearest secondary school next year, according to council projections.

This year, 62 children were told they had not got into Dorothy Stringer or Varndean school, despite living in its catchment, and offered places at schools as far as nine miles away.

The latest council projections show that almost as many children living in the catchment are expected to apply for places at the two oversubscribed schools as were expected to this year.

In November, the council projected that 665 children would be eligible for places at Dorothy Stringer or Varndean, based on figures from the October school census.

When the places were allocated, 62 children living in the catchment missed out on one of the schools’ 630 places – which means 692 children were eligible for a place.

Brighton and Hove gives priority to looked after children, those with special education needs, and to siblings before other children living in the catchment.

Brighton and Hove City council allocates the remaining places using a lottery system, the first and still only one of only a handful of English local authorities to do so.

In 2022, the current projection is for 651 children to be eligible for a place – just 14 fewer than this year’s projection, which ended up underestimating demand by 27.

In 2023, the projection says demand will drop steeply, to just 601 children.

A council spokesperson said: “Our pupils projections suggest that demand for places next year (2022) in the Dorothy Stringer and Varndean catchments will again exceed supply, but by significantly fewer than this year.

“The extent to which it may be appropriate for us to invite the schools to consider absorbing any extra students will depend on the circumstances and factors at the time.

“The nature of the school admissions process and the national timetable we have to follow mean that we won’t have the exact figures until early next year.

“Varndean has already permanently increased their PAN by 30. Our expectation is that both schools will still be operating to the maximum number of pupils allocated under the admissions arrangements.”

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