Five out of six Blackpool pupils given first choice of school

83% of children got their first choice secondary school
83% of children got their first choice secondary school
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Five out of six pupils are celebrating getting a place at their top choice secondary school when they start in September.

Just five per cent of youngsters in Blackpool missed out on a place at one of their top three schools, council chiefs said.

But while the success rate for youngsters and anxious parents within the Lancashire County Council boundary, which covers Fylde and Wyre, was even higher, many were left frustrated by computer problems.

The glitch, which did not affect those in Blackpool, meant those logging on to the website to find out where their child would be going to school were met with an error message.

The information was supposed to be available from midnight on Wednesday but one Lancashire dad, Michael Christopher said: “It wasn’t working all night, with no proper error message, and from Thursday morning, there was an message saying to come back later.

“Okay, IT systems go down but surely they must have expected a spike.”

Parents in Blackpool were much more upbeat, however.

Samantha Jane Bodenham wrote on Facebook: “My daughter got her first choice. (I) found out at 12.10am when they went live on website to have the email at 8am too.”

Nikki Latham said: “My daughter and I are happy she got her first choice.”

And others were still smiling despite experiencing computer troubles.

Michelle Stansfield posted online: “I couldn’t log on so waited for the email and (my daughter) got her first choice – happy mum, happy child.”

Along with he opportunity to check online, parents are emailed with the result of their application.

Coun Kathryn Benson, Blackpool’s cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “We always strive to give people their first choice of secondary school. This year we were able to give 83 per cent of applicants who applied to a Blackpool school their first choice.

“If we are unable to meet first choice requests because of demand or other factors we aim to provide a place in one of their top three choices.

“We have succeeded in delivering a preferred choice to 95 per cent of applicants. It’s always an exciting time as children take their next step in education. All our schools in Blackpool work so hard to offer youngsters a good education and I know they will be looking forward to welcoming new faces. I also wish the new intakes every success.”

Through yesterday, the message on the LCC website was: “We’re having some technical issues with our website which we’re working hard to resolve. Please bear with us as you will not be able to log in until we have fixed this.”

The problem was later resolved with emailed results sent out to parents.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said : “We experienced some problems with the website earlier which have now been resolved.”

Across the Lancashire education authority, which includes Fylde and Wyre, 96.9 per cent of pupils will be attending one of their preferred schools or academies from September, compared to 95 per cent in Blackpool.

In Lancashire, 86.3 per cent will get their first preference, with the Blackpool figure 83 is per cent.

County Coun Susie Charles, Lancashire’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Waiting to find out which secondary school you’ve been allocated can be an anxious time, for both parents and children.

“I have first-hand experience of this, so I know exactly how parents feel at this time.

“I’m pleased to know that 96.9% will be getting one of their three preferences and 86.3% have their first preference. Importantly, every pupil whose application was received on time has now been allocated a secondary school place.

“School places are allocated fairly and objectively, and every application is agreed upon using the criteria which have been agreed for that school.

“Our admissions team do a good job advising parents how to use their preferences wisely and, what to do if they are unhappy with the place they’ve got. There’s still a lot of movement with the allocation of school places between now and September.”

The numbers of those receiving preferred places is likely to rise as appeals are heard and adjustments made.

Last year, 95 per cent of Blackpool youngsters got a preferred school, with 84 per cent getting into their top choice.