Popularity of primary schools revealed as results show big difference in placements

Bournemouth Echo: Kingsleigh Primary School Kingsleigh Primary School

THE pressure on school places in central Bournemouth and South-bourne appears to have eased, thanks to years of creating additional places.

Study of this year’s primary school place allocations reveals fewer problems of parents unable to get their children into their catchment school than in previous years.

But there are still big differences in the popul-arity of schools – with some so over-subscribed only children living within half a mile can gain a place and others that have vacant places.

For the unfortunate 4.5 per cent of parents that didn’t receive any of their three preferences, their chil-dren were “redirected” to the few schools that are under-subscribed.

This was mainly Kingsleigh, where 50 places were offered to redirected children, and the Jewell Academy, which had 31 applicants for 90 spaces.

As a result, it offered 23 of its spare places to parents whose children had been unsuccessful elsewhere.

Other children were offered places at Heathlands, Kinson, Winton and Elm Academy.

The statistics also show the growing popularity of Parkfield Free School, currently based at the Lansdowne but looking to move to a new base at Bournemouth Airport.

It received 168 applic-ations for 56 places – and was the first choice of 73 – and filled their spaces with children who either have siblings at the school or are in the inner catchment area.

In contrast to previous years, Stour-field infant and Muscliff school were able to offer places to most applicants who live in their catchment areas.

Cllr Nicola Greene, Bournemouth’s cabinet member for education, left, said: “We, like many other councils across England have been faced with the challenge of providing a large number of additional primary school places.

“Working closely with schools and their governing bodies and the wider community we have planned ways to accommodate the increase in demand for now and in future years.

“Taking very seriously our legal duty to provide enough school places for children, I’m pleased to say that we have allocated a place for every child who applied by the closing date, with 95.5 per cent of parents receiving one of their top three preferences.”

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