Nearly one in six children in England failed to gain a place at their first choice secondary school this year, Government figures showed today.
Results for applications by more than half a million children showed 83.2 per cent were offered a place at their preferred school for September.
The refusal rate was 16.8 per cent - the same percentage as March 2009.
Statistics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families show 94.9 per cent of families received an offer of a place at one of their top three preferred schools - a rise of 0.3% on the figures published in March 2009.
And 96.6 per cent of families were handed a place at one of their six preferred schools - up 0.4 per cent on last year.
Nearly 530,000 11-year-olds from 151 local authorities were told of the allocation in letters sent out on 1 March.
It is the third year the figures have been compiled after the introduction of the controversial lottery-style scheme.