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Education in the media: 15 June 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Admissions, Childcare, School places

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Today’s news review looks at coverage of our school offer statistics and a Public Accounts Committee report on our free childcare offer.

School offer statistics

Yesterday, Tuesday 14 June, we published primary and secondary school applications and offers data for pupils starting in September 2016. The data shows the number of applications to both primary and secondary schools and the proportion of parents which have received their preferred choice.

This was covered by the Guardian, Telegraph and BBC News. The Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and The Metro mention that experts believe the reason for the shortage in London was due to the capital’s booming birth rate.

The key findings are:

  • The proportion of children receiving an offer for their first choice of secondary has remained stable at around 84 per cent while the proportion receiving offers at their first-choice primary has actually risen this year.
  • More than 95 per cent of children received offers from one of their top three choices.
  • Almost 20,000 more secondary pupils got their first choice place in 2016/17 than in 2010/11, and 20,000 more primary pupils got their first choice place than for 2014/15 – the earliest year for which data is available.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Delivering good quality school places is a top priority for this government and today’s figures show that the system continues to work. The vast majority of pupils were offered a place at their first choice school and more than 95 per cent received offers from one of their top three choices.


Our reforms and our academy programme are raising standards for all children with 1.4 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. We will continue to invest and work hard to ensure every child has an excellent education that allows them to reach their full potential.

Childcare offer

Following last month’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing, the committee has published a report on the Government’s childcare offer. The report speculates that there may not be enough providers willing to provide the additional 15 hours of free childcare being introduced in 2017. It also makes misleading claims that we do not have robust plans in place to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified early years staff.

The report has been covered by the BBC, both in radio news bulletins and online, which acknowledge the “significant progress” towards ensuring families benefit from the free 15 hours of childcare they are currently entitled to, with 94 per cent  of three-year-olds and 99 per cent  of four-year-olds taking up funded places in 2015.

We are investing £6billion a year – more than any previous government – in supporting working parents, including doubling the free hours of childcare for working parents of 3-and 4-year-olds, from 15 hours to 30 hours a week. We have already seen great demand from local areas to take part in delivering that offer a year early, and are working closely with the sector as we move to make it available across the country from September 2017.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We are committed to supporting hardworking families and nothing shows this better than our landmark 30 hour free childcare offer. We have seen huge demand from local areas to take part in delivering that offer a year early, so we know childcare providers and local authorities want to help hardworking families too – and take up of our existing offer for families of three and four year olds and disadvantaged families with two year olds has continued to increase. We will continue to work closely with providers as we get ready to provide this offer across the country in September 2017, backed up by our record investment into the childcare sector.

More detail from when we announced our 30 hour free childcare offer can be found here, and more information on next steps is here.

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