More than 99% of children in Suffolk have been offered a place at one of their three preferred primary schools.

96.52% of children due to start school in September were placed at their first preference school, up from 95.82% last year.

Parents and carers across the country heard about their children’s primary school allocation on National Offer Day yesterday.

Across Suffolk, 44 children did not receive one of their preferred schools yesterday.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and SEND, said: “It is great news that once again the majority of families have been offered a place at one of their preferred schools, especially with so many being offered a place at their first preference school.

“We appreciate that not all families may have received a place at their preferred school.

"If this is the case and a parent or carer’s preference for a Suffolk school has been refused, their child’s name will automatically be added to the waiting list for that school.

"Parents and carers will also be advised how to lodge an appeal should they wish to do so.”

Parents and carers can appeal their child’s allocation for at least 20 days from offer day.

The proportion of children receiving a preferred school has risen consistently in the past few years.

But many have reiterated calls for a reform of the education system.

Pepe Di’Iasio, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Many parents will be excited at getting their chosen school, but some will inevitably be disappointed.

"Last year the number of families receiving their first primary school preference increased to 92.5% against a background of a fall in the overall number of primary-age children and it is likely that we’ll see a similar or increased acceptance rate this year.

“However, this is unlikely to be evenly spread because of local factors – such as housebuilding – and particularly the pressure on places at schools which tend to be in more affluent areas and have ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted ratings.

"This creates a postcode lottery and is another reason why the government should scrap the current system of single-phrase inspection judgements, move to a system that is more supportive of schools in general and stop sifting them in a way that creates a damaging perception of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.”

Meanwhile, the number of applications for Suffolk primary school places has fallen yet again, declining from 7,434 for the 2014-15 academic year to 6,844 for 2024-25.

A declining birth rate has been blamed for falling applications across England.

There were 605,479 live births in England and Wales in 2022, a 3.1% decrease from 624,828 in 2021 and the lowest number since 2002, according to Office for National Statistics data.

If your child is eligible for Suffolk County Council-funded school travel, you will receive an email by May 10 with details of how to opt-in.

The council can provide transport for any child under eight who lives more than two miles from the nearest suitable school, and more than three miles for aged eight and older.

Information on how to appeal a placement can be found here.