Wednesday, 27 February 2008

One third of all pupils fail to get first choice school

Figures published yesterday for Secondary School admissions in 2007 show that Darlington last year was one of the poorest performers in the whole country at providing parents and pupils with their first choice of secondary school. While in nearby Stockton every single child went to their first choice school, Hartlepool managed 98% and Durham 97%, in Darlington only 66% got their first choice. Darlington languishes near the bottom of the national league tables, along with most of the London Boroughs.

Indeed, not only did one-third of parents not get their first choice school, 13% were sent to a school which didn't feature anywhere in their preferred options: the third worst score in the whole country!

One thing is clear, whatever the Council may tell us about improvements in secondary education in the town, parents last year voted with their feet and tried to keep their children away from the underperforming schools. There is clearly not enough space in the good schools, so many pupils and parents are being forced into schools they would rather avoid.

We hope to see a significant improvement in the 2008 figures.


Anonymous said...

Gill Cartwright -
These statistics do not surprise us.
As ward councillors we have dealt with several families who have not been able to get their children into a local school let alone a school of their choice. It causes a great deal of distress for the children and their parents.

tls said...

With such huge disparity in secondary schoo performance it is no wonder that so many parents are desperate to get their children into darlingtons better schools.

What must not be forgotten is that back in 2005 Hurworth proposed expansion to 900 (from 650) as part a plan to avoid closure by DBC.
This would have given access to every child who made hurworth their first choice.

However, as part of the "deal" to avoid closure, Hurworth was forced to abandon its expansion plans. (mainly to support numbers at the new academy)

Unfortunatly dbc still find themselves out of step with their own government, who rightly wish to see the expansion of popular and succesful schools.
So whilst Hommersknott, Eastbourne and the EV (despite poor performance)continue to recieve massive investment, Hurworths infrastructure continues to suffer year on year.

Judith said...

Across the border in North Yorkshire there are of course good schools that are undersubscribed as a result of demographic changes and an ageing population. Surely it's not beyond the wit of man to organise transport for secondary school pupils from Darlington to say Northallerton which would presumably be a lot cheaper than trying to turn round a school that no parent wants to send their child too. After all these are today's children and they should not be expected to attend schools their parents feel are inadequate because of political promises to improve in the future. However forseeable the future might be, it is never soon enough when children and their education are on the line.