More than nine out of 10 parents whose children are set to enter the classroom for the first time in September 2020 have been offered their first choice of primary school in Oxfordshire.
A total of 6,690 of the 7,384 applicants have received their first choice. Meanwhile 538 applicants have been offered one of the alternative schools they listed on their application form, and only 156 have been offered an alternative that they have not listed as a preference.
The consistent high number of first choices achieved in Oxfordshire is due to the county council’s careful forward-planning to make sure the right numbers of school places exist. This has been achieved through the building and opening of new schools, the expansion of existing schools (new buildings, making better use of existing accommodation), and marginal increases in admission numbers.
Although the national average for 2020 will not be published for some time, outcomes for Oxfordshire children were ahead of the national averages for 2019 and 2018 and they will likely exceed the national average again in 2020.
County Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: "We’re delighted to be able to offer the overwhelming majority of families their first preference school, and wish all the children the very best for the coming school years. We constantly monitor demand for places and work closely with all schools to ensure there is sufficient capacity both across the county as a whole and within local areas.
"Oxfordshire compares very favourably with other parts of the country on school places and our strong track record on first-preference offers is down to that effective forward-planning. We aim to give every Oxfordshire child a good start in life and this is part of that work."
An appeal process is available to families wishing to challenge the outcome of their application, and details of how to do this have been sent to parents. Children's names can also be placed on ‘continued interest’ lists in case places become available at schools at a later date.
Advice on the appeals process, and an online form, is available on the County Council’s website page: Appealing for a School Place. The link to the online form is at the bottom of the webpage.