Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Most pupils get first choice school but picture varies

Eight out of 10 got their first choice last year

More than eight in 10 families in England received an offer from their top choice of secondary school earlier this month, official figures show.

A total of 83.5% of families got their first choice, while just under 95% had an offer from one of their top three choices - a slight rise on last year.

In some areas, parents were less successful. In London and Birmingham, 66% got their first choice school.

In the north east, 92% got their top choice.

In the East Midlands, 90.6% were offered a place at their favourite school.

In London, there were wide variations. In Wandsworth, just under half of families were given their first choice, although 80% received an offer from one of their three top choices of school.

In Bexley, in outer London, 78% had an offer from their first choice school while 93% had one from one of their top three.

In Brighton, where the controversial lottery system has been introduced, nearly 81% were given their first choice school, while 96% were given one of their top three choices.

'Best system'

Statistics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families show 96.6% of families were handed a place at one of their six preferred schools - up 0.4% on last year.

Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: "Today's figures show that the vast majority of parents are very satisfied with the admissions system and are getting their children to the schools of their choice.

"We cannot guarantee every parent a place at their first-choice school but the School Admissions Code underpins the best admissions system we have ever had - it places parents and families at the heart of the admissions system and ensures that school places are allocated in a fair and transparent way."

Nearly 530,000 11-year-olds from 151 local authorities received news of their school places earlier this month.

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