27/02/2023 - Permalink

Exceptional demand for secondary school places as offer day approaches

Related topics: Children's services

This Wednesday (1 March 2023) children across the country will discover which secondary school they have been offered a place at for the academic year that starts in September.

Due to a high birth rate for this year’s intake, there is exceptional increased demand for secondary school places this year in Shropshire and across the West Midlands.

Whilst there are sufficient places in Shropshire schools overall for the 2023/24 academic year, in some areas of the county pressure on available school places may result in some children not being offered a place at one of their preferred schools. However, all children who applied on time will be offered a place.

To help with the allocation of school places this year, Shropshire secondary headteachers have worked with Shropshire Council officers to find a solution to this exceptional situation. This has resulted in many of the schools exceeding their Published Admissions Number (PAN) prior to National Offer Day on 1 March, and has enabled as many on-time applicants as possible to be offered a school place within a reasonable distance from their home address.

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said:

“This really is an exceptional year for the number of children seeking a secondary school place for September, and – like many other councils – we have seen our highest-ever number of applications.

“However, this is something we have known was coming, and is something we have long planned for. Though not everyone will be offered their preferred school, there are sufficient spaces across the county, and all children who applied on time will be offered a place at secondary school in September.

“We have been working closely with schools and are very grateful to those who have agreed to accommodate additional pupils. We recognise the significant challenges this presents and will continue to offer support to schools throughout this process.”

Shropshire Council’s pupil forecast data shows this particular cohort is unique in size and numbers should revert to previous levels in future years.

If a child has not been offered a place at their preferred Shropshire school, their parent/guardian can request a review, an appeal or ask for their child to be added to the school’s waiting list.

For more information about applications and appeals, visit the Shropshire Council website.

Further information

Whilst the initial allocation number may have increased, each school’s individual PAN remains unchanged. Any increase to a school’s initial allocation number this year, does not set a precedent for future allocations.

Key dates

  • 1 March 2023 – National Offer Day. Parents are notified via email of the school place allocated to their child.
  • 10 March 2023 – Shropshire Review Deadline. Date for changes of preference or requests for a school’s waiting list.
  • 17 March 2023 – Shropshire Review Outcome. Letters are sent to parents following the review process.