Thousands of youngsters missed out on their first choice place at Kirklees schools.
Figures released by a Freedom of Information request by Trinity Mirror reveal that last month thousands of new starters were at a school which was not their parents’ first choice.
And some of the schools were oversubscribed with hundreds vying for less than 100 places.
Pressure for first choice places at secondary schools varied from district to district and despite the high number of disappointed families, children across the whole of Kirklees and Calderdale were this year 1% more likely to get to their school of choice compared with last year.
More than 500 families were disappointed when their child did not get a place at The Mirfield Free Grammar and Sixth Form, the most over-subscribed school in Kirklees in terms of numbers.
The school, which has an Ofsted Outstanding rating and is twinned with Colne Valley High School, had a massive 789 applications for just 221 places.
Percentage wise, it was Batley Grammar which came out on top, being 485% oversubscribed, although the number of applications were slightly down on last year.
Other secondary schools which had two or more applications for every place were: Heckmondwike Grammar (150 places/471 applications), Castle Hall Academy (174/477), Royds Hall (172/450), Salendine Nook (265/590) and Honley (254/550).
The schools under most pressure for the current academic year are generally in two areas – in north Huddersfield and the other in north Kirklees – which are undergoing population booms.
The first is around Lindley, Reinwood and Mount where hundreds of new houses have been built with proposals for hundreds more currently in the pipeline.
The second are is north Kirklees – Batley, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Cleckheaton – where the population is expanding much faster than the national average.
Another factor to emerge is that semi-rural village schools are extremely popular with parents, but most of the small ones have nowhere near enough places to meet demand.
The three primary schools with the biggest number of applications in the whole of Kirklees were Lindley, Reinwood and Moorlands.
Lindley, traditionally known as the most oversubscribed infant school in Kirklees, had 320 applications for 120 places. Reinwood Infants and Nursery – despite having just expanded to create extra places – is already more than three times oversubscribed with 286 applications for 90 places.
Moorlands Primary School was in a similar position with 244 applications for 90 places.
Spring Grove in Springwood was also a popular choice with 90 parents applying for 30 places.
In terms of the percentages of places available versus applications, it was the small village schools which were under the most pressure with Wilberlee in Slaithwaite and Farnley Tyas being more than 400% oversubscribed.
Other highly popular small schools were Holme (5 places/17 applications), Wellhouse and Clough Head (14/41), Scapegoat Hill (12/31), Thurstonland (12/29) Hade Edge (12/27) and Birdsedge (15/57).
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In north Kirklees schools that were all more than 300% oversubscribed were Hanging Heaton, Littletown, Howard Park, Roberttown, Hartshead, East Bierley, Batley Parish, Batley Grammar and Crowlees.
Kirklees Council Assistant Director for Learning and Skills Gill Ellis said: “We monitor population levels across the district so that we always have an accurate picture of the demand for school places. Population growth is not uniform across Kirklees and there can be peaks and troughs in different areas but we are always aware of where demand is particularly high and we respond accordingly.
“In partnership with our schools we work hard to meet the demand for places and to ensure they are of good quality, helping children and young people to enjoy high standards of education. A range of measures are used, including modular buildings, and the creation of additional places in areas where they are needed.
“The council has invested huge sums in improving and expanding school facilities across the district and this is continuing. We are absolutely committed to supporting local schools and local families in helping young people to fulfil their potential. As the data shows, it is not always possible for a family to secure a place at their first preference of school.
“When a school is over-subscribed, several admissions criteria are used to allocate places. However, if a family does not secure a place at their first preference, it’s highly likely that they will secure a place at one of the other schools they have given as a preference.”
Full information about school admissions, including admissions criteria, is here: http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/community/parentsCarers/schools/admissions.aspx