Debate of the week: Children denied their first choice of school

by Emily

It's a tough time for thousands of Year Six pupils and their families. Last Monday was "national offer day", when local councils send out letters to around 540,000 families across the country to let them know whether they had been given a place at their preferred choice of secondary school.

Sadly, around 100,000 children were left disappointed as they were told that they would be unable to attend their first choice school.

That's even more children left out in the cold than last year, when around 91,000 children and their families were forced to reconsider their secondary school options.

Experts say that this increase has happened because many parents who may have opted for an independent school have applied to state schools because of their changed financial circumstances.

The admissions criteria for state schools have changed in recent times and certainly seem to be quite complicated. However, they don't appear to be working. If we invite children to apply for places at their preferred schools, then these preferred schools should have places for them. Otherwise, what's the point? We may as well go back to the old days when everyone lumped in together and simply went to the school that was nearest to them.