Council explains schools bulge decision

Posted On 04 Mar 2022 at 4:16 pm

A drop in the numbers of children applying this year meant that the numbers of children getting into their first choice school has returned to previous levels.

Last year, 165 children did not get any of their preferences, and just 80.69 per cent got their first preference thanks to an increase in pupils applying.

This caused most issues in the Varndean and Dorothy Stringer catchment, where 62 children were allocated places at neither school.

When high numbers had caused similar problems in previous years, the schools had agreed to take on bulge classes.

But last year, they refused, saying having taken more meant there was no longer any free space.

This year, there were 29 more children applying to both schools – but both agreed to take a handful of extra children.

Today, the council explained this was because it was anticipated not all the offers would be taken up, leaving the schools with numbers much closer to its capacity in September.

The council also revealed today that this year, the number being allocated their first preference was almost 84% – about the same as 2020 and more than 2019.

The number getting no preference at all was 93 – slightly less than 2020 and much less than 2019, when 125 were unlucky.

2022 2021 2020
First preferences offered   2,150 (83.7%) 2,186 (80.69%) 2,158 (83.87%)
Second preferences offered 261 (10.16%) 263 (9.71%) 237 (9.21%)
Third preferences offered 64 (2.49%) 95 (3.51%) 79 (3.07%)
No preference offered 93 (3.62%) 165 (6.09%) 99 (3.85%)

A council spokesman said: “Application numbers for secondary school places in Brighton and Hove have dropped this year. The total number this year is 2,568 – compared with 2,709 last year.

“This has led to a great percentage of families being offered their first preference school.

“There has also been a big drop in the number of instances where no preference was offered this year – from 165 last year down to 93.

“Everyone who selected their catchment area school or schools among their three preferences has been offered a place at one of their preferred schools.

“In each case where no preference was offered, the reason was either because parents missed the applications deadline or because they didn’t select their catchment area school or schools as one of their three preferences.

“The number of applications to Dorothy Stringer and Varndean above the catchment area limit is much lower this year than it was last year.

“Based on previous experience we anticipate that a number of parents will decline the places we have offered. This can be because they are leaving the area or choosing to send their children to private schools instead.

“With that in mind, and with the agreement of Dorothy Stringer and Varndean, the council has offered a small number of extra places at each school.

“We anticipate that the extra places we have allocated will be balanced out by parents opting not to take up places in the catchment area that we have offered them.

“It is always a difficult balance with school catchment places. In this instance, given the lower numbers of applicants this year, we can ensure that all parents in the catchment area who put both schools down as preferences – as advised in the council’s admissions guidelines –have a place for their children at one of the schools.”

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.