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Under 11s School Places for 2012

Published: 18th April 2012 14:31

Despite a large increase in the number of applications, this year 400 more Hertfordshire children have been allocated a place at one of their three preferred primary, junior or middle schools when compared to last year - equivalent to almost 93 per cent of applications.

Nearly 18,000 applications have been dealt with and over 17,500 Hertfordshire families will be informed of their offer of a school place today or tomorrow.

The vast majority of parents and carers in Hertfordshire will be able to access their allocation information this evening. After 6pm, allocation emails will be sent to all parents who have confirmed their email address. The online allocation system will be available for other online applicants only after all emails have been despatched.

The number of children applying for a place in a Hertfordshire primary school has risen by 835 this year - a total of 14,436 applications for reception places were received. Despite this significant increase, 13,254 Hertfordshire children have been allocated a ranked primary school. Similarly, more children were allocated their first ranked school compared to last year - 11,682 in all, an increase of 279 since last year.

Over the last few years the number of applications for reception places has been steadily increasing and 17 additional forms of entry have already been made available for September 2012, as published in the "Applying for a School Place" booklet. However, more places are needed because applications are even higher than anticipated: over 6 per cent up on last year, which is equivalent to over 800 children or a form of entry at 28 schools.

In order to ensure that additional places provided matches local demand as closely as possible, some potential expansions were identified but were not finalised until after primary applications for 2012 had been received and analysed. On the basis of this work the following schools will also be admitting an additional form of entry in September 2012:

Baldock: Hartsfield Primary
Harpenden: Wood End Primary; Manland Primary
Hatfield: DeHavilland Primary
Hertford: Bengeo Primary
Hoddesdon: Cranbourne Primary
Redbourn: Redbourn Infants
Watford: Central Primary; Orchard Primary; Watford Field Infants; Kingsway Infants
Welwyn Garden City: Springmead Primary
Wheathampstead: Beech Hyde

These additional places will be added at the continuing interest stage, in the week commencing 14 May 2012.

Justin Donovan, Director of Education and Early Intervention, said: "Starting primary school or moving on to a junior or middle school is an important step and we are pleased that even more children have been allocated a ranked school this year, despite the increase in the number of applications.

"We have been working closely with schools over the last two years to create additional reception places and, although across the county as a whole there are enough reception places for all children, schools with vacancies are not in the right locations to cater for the increasing demand for reception places in other towns and communities. This year, if in one area it has not been possible to offer a significant number of children a place at one of their ranked schools, and the distance to the nearest school with an available place is over five miles, places have not been offered at this stage in the process but will be offered next month. This strategy means that, for the first time in Hertfordshire, some applicants in Watford, Harpenden and Wheathampstead will not be offered a reception place on allocation day.

"I recognise this is always a difficult time for these parents. However, although allocations for these families will be delayed for a month, I am confident that every child not currently offered a reception place will be offered one at the first run of continuing interest in the week commencing 14 May 2012."

The decision to add places at the continuing interest stage was taken because confirmation of these new places became available after the application process closed, and we want to make sure that all families have equal access to them. It is vitally important that all families are treated within a clear and transparent process.

All Hertfordshire applicants for reception places will receive a letter and/or email on allocation day outlining the process for applying for the additional places available in the first continuing interest run. All applicants who have not been offered their first preference school will automatically be placed on the continuing interest list for any schools named higher on their application form than the school offered. Parents can also consider making a new application to any of the schools offering additional places. Full information on how to make a continuing interest application, and the timescales involved, is available in the "Under 11s - What Can You Now?" leaflet, which is included with the allocation letter for all children not offered their first preference school and also available at www.hertsdirect.org/primaryoptions (this site goes live after 4pm today).

All parents and carers offered a school place must respond by 2 May 2012. Parents who applied online must also accept the school place offered online. Families are advised to visit the school they have been offered before deciding whether to accept or decline the place. If a response is not received the offered place may be withdrawn.

The deadline to submit an appeal is 4pm on 18 May 2012. All information concerning post allocation processes is available in the "What Can You Do Know leaflet". Additional information, including school summary reports, is available at www.hertsdirect.org/primaryoptions (this site goes live after 4pm today).

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