Today’s blog welcomes back Justine Greening as Secretary of State for Education and looks at new figures that show the number of children going to their preferred choice of school is on the rise.
Secretary of State
On Sunday, 11 June, Justine Greening was re-appointed Secretary of State for Education by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening, said:
I am delighted to be back at the DfE.
This department, with its responsibility for education, skills and opportunity, is uniquely placed to help build a country where everyone can reach their potential.
Our nurseries, schools, colleges and universities can help create a stronger, fairer society, and as we prepare for Brexit, a more prosperous Britain for all of us.
That's why we will be redoubling our efforts to make sure everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, can get a world-class education and have the chance to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them.
I am also very proud to continue as Minister for Women and Equalities, with DfE home to the Government Equalities Office. We will continue to promote and champion equal rights, building on achievements to date including the introduction of same sex marriage and ongoing work to close the gender pay gap.
The Secretary of State was welcomed back to the department by Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater.
The move has been welcomed by many in the education sector, as reported by the Times Higher Education supplement and the TES.
Russell Hobby of the NAHT called the appointment “positive news”, while Kevin Courtney of the NUT called her “grounded and evidence aware”.
Today, 13 June, we published statistics relating to the proportions of pupils who got their preferred places at both primary school and secondary school.
When pupils go to primary school and when they make the step up to secondary school they and their parents are asked to outline their top three choices of school.
Decisions are then made locally with regard to catchment areas, capacity and more when allocating a place.
The statistics published today show:
- Across secondary and primary school there has been an increase in the percentage of applicants securing an offer of their first choice of school – from 86.4% in 2016 to 86.9% in 2017. The figure for the percentage of applicants securing one of their top three choices of either primary or secondary school is stable – from 95.7% in 2016 and 95.9% in 2017.
- In 2017 83.5% of applicants for a secondary school place received an offer of their first preference school. 94.6% received an offer of one of their top three preferences.
- In 2017 562,487 applications for a secondary school place were received, an increase of 2.6% on 2016 and the highest number of applications received since 2008 (568,723).
- 90% of applicants received an offer of their first choice school, and 97.2% received an offer of one of their top three preferences.
- Applications for a primary school place have dropped by 3.3% from 2016, with 620,330 applications. This total is the lowest seen in the four years that primary level figures have been collected.
- The proportion of primary applicants who received an offer of their first choice school increased from 88.4% in 2016 to 90.0%. The proportion receiving an offer of any of their preferences also increased from 96.9% to 97.7%.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
The vast majority of parents continue to secure a place at their first choice of school for their child, 86.9 per cent this year - with more than 95 per cent having received offers at one of their top three choices.
There are already 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than 2010 but want to do more to ensure every child has access to a good school place.
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