More secondary pupils in Bedford start first-choice places

There were 2,042 applicants in the town this year

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 5:00 pm

More Bedford pupils are starting at their first-choice secondary school this September, new figures show.

In April, pupils starting at primary and secondary state schools this year found out which school they would be attending.

Parents can put between three and six preferences down for a state school of choice, with the exact number varying between local authorities.

87.9% of applicants in Bedford were given a place at their first choice of secondary school for the 2022-23 school year – up from 85.1% the year before

Schools are ranked by order of preference, with pupils allocated to the highest school on the list for which they meet the eligibility criteria.

New figures from the Department for Education show there were 2,042 applicants to secondary schools in Bedford this year.

Of these, 87.9% were given a place at their first choice for the 2022-23 school year – up from 85.1% the year before.

Meanwhile, 98.5% were allocated to one of the schools on their list – also up from the year before, when the same figure stood at 96.1%.

If pupils do not receive an offer from any of their preferences, they are given a place at another school by the local council.

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Emily Hunt, associate director at the Education Policy Institute think-tank, said these statistics only tell "part of the story".

She added: "We know from our research that first choice offer rates vary considerably across the country, as does the availability of high-performing schools to apply to.

"The criteria used to determine whether a pupil is offered a place can also make it difficult for pupils who are unable to live nearby.”

Across the whole of the East of England, 91.8% were allocated their first-choice primary school, and 86.5% of incoming secondary pupils landed their first pick.

The figures show 91.9% of Bedford children were given their first primary school of choice, a drop from the 92.5% in the 2021-22 school year.

Almost every child was given a primary school place on their list, with 99% being allocated to one of their preferences.

School standards minister Robin Walker said: “It’s fantastic to see the overwhelming majority of prospective primary and secondary pupils once again receive offers from their preferred schools.”