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More Suffolk parents miss out on their first choice primary school

PUBLISHED: 14:14 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 17 April 2019

Primary school places have been announced in Suffolk and Essex. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Primary school places have been announced in Suffolk and Essex. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Archant

A lack of 'good' and 'outstanding' Suffolk primary schools has been blamed for an increase in the numbers of children missing out on their parents' preferred choices.

Today it was revealed that 98.6% of parents in Suffolk received an offer to one of their top three choices, a decrease from 2018 - despite only 7,505 applications being received and more than 9,000 primary school places available.

This year the number of parents receiving their first choice school decreased from 94.6% in 2018, to 93.8% this year.

Parents have been sharing their news on Facebook. Many received preferred choices, with Suffolk County Council saying it had a good track record of offering places to preferred schools.

However more than 100 missed out, with one parent saying: “Second year in a row getting my first choice school which was way out of catchment. I am very pleased.”

Cllr Jack Abbott says that the drop in places allocated shows there are not enough good schools in Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCllr Jack Abbott says that the drop in places allocated shows there are not enough good schools in Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

However, Jack Abbott, the Labour spokesman for education, worries that the numbers of children missing out is down to the lack of places available in the right areas.

He said: “It is really disappointing that fewer pupils will be going to their first-choice school this year for both primary and secondary.

“There are two major issues here – firstly, as shown by the large amount of unallocated spaces across Suffolk, school places are simply not available in the right areas.

“Additionally, the failure of 'Raising the Bar' means that our county still does not have enough schools which are rated 'good' or 'outstanding'.

Beau Williams (right) has not been given any of her parents' preferred choices. Picture: JOY WILLIAMSBeau Williams (right) has not been given any of her parents' preferred choices. Picture: JOY WILLIAMS

“Parents will look to apply for 'good' and 'outstanding' first so until the Tories at Suffolk County Council actually dedicate some resources into driving up school standards in each and every school, we will continue to have this disparity.”

One parent, Joy Williams, who currently lives in east Ipswich but is preparing to move to Kesgrave, has been left disappointed with the offers her children have received.

She applied for three schools in Kesgrave – where her children have been attending nursery for the past two-and-a-half years, but instead was given Pipers Vale.

Joy said: “I totally understand that I'm not in catchment for these places but I have been making provisions to improve our chances but it still hasn't worked.

“We are in the process of putting offers on houses and we've been planning this for years, hence why we put the kids in nursery there.

“We are trying to do the best for our children by getting them into reputable schools and nurseries to better their futures.

“We paid specifically for our children to go into alpha nurseries (Grange farm nursery) without any help and have been getting them into clubs to better their chances and building solid friendships.”

Joy added: “I feel that attending an under acheiving school really isn't good enough for her.”

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “We have a good track record of offering places at preferred schools and this year is no exception.

“I am delighted that we have been able to give most parents a place for their child at one of the schools they want.”

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