More seek school places

AN extra 170 children applied for places at South Gloucestershire’s secondary schools in September compared with last year.

The council received 3,334 applications from families with children heading into Year 7 after the summer holidays, up from 3,164 in 2022.

It meant that, while more children in total than last year were given a place at their first-choice school, the number who were offered none of their three preferences rose by 45%, from 85 to 123.

The number of children being offered their first-choice school was 2,887 or 86%, compared with 2,807 or 89% last year.

Another 264 (8%) were offered their second-choice school, up from 228 (7%) in 2022.

Third preference places were offered to 56 children (2%) up from 44 (1%) in 2022.

Schools in the area are under pressure for places as plans for a new secondary school in Lyde Green continue to be delayed. The council announced in March that it will no longer be open in time for September 2024 – two years after the date originally announced.

As a result Downend School has offered 60 extra places for September 2023 “to assist in responding to the additional demand for secondary school places from the Lyde Green housing development,” the council says, although Winterbourne Academy has not offered any extra places this year, having done so in 2022.