Most school starters get first choice

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More than 96 per cent of St Helens parents secured one of their preferred primary school places for their child - with more than 88 per cent offered their first choice.

The figures mean the borough bucked the national trend, with early figures suggesting tens of thousands of pupils across the country will not get their first choice.

In St Helens, 96.12 per cent of parents obtained one of their preferred choices for their child, with 88.52 per cent achieving their first preference.

Out of 2,039 applicants across the borough, just 79 did not manage to secure one of their preferred schools for their child.

This rate, which equates to 3.88 per cent, marked a slight increase on last year - when just 2.85 per cent were left disappointed.

But the local figure looks likely to compare very favourably both nationally and regionally as some areas expressed concerns about rates being as high as 15 to 20 per cent.

However ALL St Helens parents who applied for a school place for their child in September were able to secure one at a borough primary school.

Ofsted inspectors recently found a huge chasm in performance between the borough’s booming primary schools and under-performing secondaries.

St Helens Council has now set up four direct phone lines to the Admissions Team for parents who would like to discuss their application.

Andy Dempsey, the council’s director for children and young people’s services, said: “This is not the end of the line for the very small number of parents who haven’t secured one of their preferred schools.

“There are waiting lists in operation and parents can appeal to the Independent Appeals Panel.”