Is it essential to get your first choice of school?

Will secondary school children in England get their first choice of schools in the 2010-11 school year, and is it really crucial that they should?  Opinion varies, but the national average is slightly down in some areas, including the London boroughs.

London typically has a lower percentage of students who get a place in their first choice of schools; this is due in part to the popularity of some schools that results in an overload of subscriptions.

In London and Birmingham at least two thirds of the pupils will be able to get their top preference in schools, but the percentage is much higher in some rural areas as many as 95% get their first choice.

According to Graham Carter, chairman of the Admissions Group for London, students got one of their choices in 90% of cases, and first choice was offered to about two-thirds of them every year for the past six years.

Some representatives of the educational system are wondering if all the flurry and anxiety on the part of many parents is really valid.  The ATL teacher’s union general secretary, Mary Bousted, indicated that since most students do get to go to school where they (or their parents) prefer, there is no real need to worry about it.  In addition, educational standards are being raised across the country.

In 1977, parents had a 50/50 chance of their child being ‘allocated’ to a sub-standard school, but there has been great improvement in the secondary schools as far as educational standards are concerned, and school ministers intend to continue and expand that improvement.

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