Parents failed on school choice, say Tories

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The Independent Online

More than 100,000 parents failed to get their children into their first-choice secondary school last year. The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Conservatives, show that those living in the inner cities were most likely to lose out on their favoured option.

Southwark in south London was the worst area, with only 51 per cent of all parents getting their child into their favoured school. The figures, which emerged a week before parents find out how successful they have been this year, show that 18 per cent of parents (100,572) missed out on their first choice, with 7 per cent not even managing to get their child into any of the six secondary schools they were allowed to select.

A total of 3,126 parents in England were not made a single offer of a school place. "These figures show that for large numbers of parents the idea they can choose a school for their children is a myth," said Michael Gove, the Conservatives' schools spokesman.

The Schools minister, Jim Knight, said: "The vast majority of parents get a place at a preferred school – most at their first choice. Because there are far more good and improving schools across the country, parents have more options."