No year 7 surge as school first choices rise in parts of England

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Contrary to predictions, applications for jobs in London, Manchester and Liverpool were down or flat in July compared to June.

A rise in applications for state secondary school places across England has not been matched by an increase in places available, meaning more parents will be able to get their first choice of schools for their children.

The number of applications to study at university in London fell by 1 percent compared with last year, suggesting that population movements following the Covid pandemic remain unsettled.

Applications in Kent, England, Leeds, England, Sheffield, England, and Manchester, England, were little changed.

Other parts of England saw strong increases in demand for properties in September, including Birmingham (up 8%), Cornwall (up 8%) and Oxfordshire(up 5%).

As the children of the baby boomer generation reach the end of primary school, they will be transferring to secondary schools in the autumn.

Applications for London schools dropped by 1,050 from last year to this year.

The authority said applications for social housing were affected by “longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including families moving due to changes to their circumstances and working patterns and the localised effect of Britain leaving the European Union.”

Damian White, Chair of Schools and Children’s Services for London Councils, said: “While the total number of applications received in London this academic year was slightly lower than the previous year, pressure on different areas can vary.”

“We will keep an eye on birth rates and patterns of population growth to ensure that there are enough schools for every child who needs one.”

Nearly 70% of applicants for schools in London got their first choice of school, compared with 67% last year. There were variations between boroughs. With just 60% of families living in Kensington and Chelsea choosing their first choice, compared to 78% in Walthams Forest and 81% in Hackney.

Birmingham, which also experienced a sharp drop in primary applications last year had an extra 1,100 secondary applications this year, and the proportion of families receiving their first choice dropped from 74% to 71%

Kent, which has the largest number of applications for jobs outside London, saw a small drop in overall numbers. However, successful first preferences in Kent increased from 70% to 80% while Essex’s increased from 82% to 87%

The proportion of first choice students who were accepted at universities increased in Leeds by five percentage point to 85% and in Manchester by three percentage points to 77%. Sheffield had slightly fewer applicants than the previous year and the number of families who received their first choice dropped to 87%

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