children \forced to accept unpopular secondary schools\
Last Updated : GMT 18:08:33
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Children \'forced to accept unpopular secondary schools\'

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Children \'forced to accept unpopular secondary schools\'

London - Arabstoday

More than one-in-seven pupils across England are being forced to accept second, third or fourth-choice schools this September, it emerged. Data published by the Department for Education suggests almost one-in-20 children were rejected from at least three state secondary schools. Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, said too many parents had been left with a “Hobson’s choice”. According to figures, some schools in parts of London received as many as nine applications for every place. Mr Gibb said: “I want us to reach a position where it is parents choosing schools, not schools choosing parents. “For that to happen, every school has to be a good school but standards have stagnated and dozens of our schools are simply not up to scratch. “Many parents have been left with only a Hobson’s choice, a good school or a bad school, and that is no choice at all.” More than 503,000 children in England received a secondary school offer on March 1. Of those, 85.3 per cent won a place at their first choice, up 0.7 percentage points on 2011. It left 74,000 with their second choice or worse. A further 95.9 per cent received an offer at one of their top three choices and 1.2 per cent failed to receive any school named on their application form. But the data showed wide variations in success rates between areas. Competition is particularly fierce in local authorities with grammar schools, with thousands of pupils competing for a small number of academically selective places. In Slough, just 40.8 per cent of pupils gained their first choice school – the lowest proportion for any local authority – and a third of children were rejected from three places. Only 54.5 per cent of children in Buckinghamshire and 67.2 per cent in Birmingham – which both retain grammar schools – also gained their first choice. Competition was also fierce in London, where pupils can gain easy access to dozens of schools, increasing demand for the best places. Fewer than six-in-10 children got into their preferred school in Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and Merton. Across the capital, a third of children missed out on their first choice and more than one-in-10 were turned away from at least three schools. It came as figures showed many of the Government’s academies and free schools – independent institutions run free of local council interference – received the most applications. Haberdashers\' Aske\'s Hatcham College – an academy in south-east London – had more than nine applications for each of its 161 places. It was forced to turn away 1,356 pupils. The West London Free School, Hammersmith, had 1,078 children competing for just 120 places – around nine-to-one. Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, accused the Government of focusing resources on a small number of flagship schools instead of boosting standards nationally. \"The Tory-led Government’s approach to schools is simply haphazard,” he said. \"Parents will be worried that increasing pressure on school places, the fact that the Government is not prioritising real need, and there is no plan to raise standards in all schools will only make this situation worse.”

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