THE NUMBER of children who were allocated their first-choice secondary school plummeted this year, shocking figures have revealed.

In fact, one out of every eight secondary school applicants have not been placed in any of the four schools they selected.

Just 65.97 per cent of Year Six pupils have been given places at the preferred choice of schools for the coming September, down from 78.39 per cent last year.

It means 163 more children did not get placed at any of their chosen schools compared to last year while 209 fewer children were allocated a space at their first-choice school.

Reading Chronicle:

And Reading Borough Council blamed the shocking figures on the increasing popularity of schools in neighbouring authorities.

A spokesman said: “The number of students offered their first preference of secondary school has unfortunately decreased this year for a number of reasons.

“The percentage of pupils allocated to schools outside Reading borough fell by nearly nine per cent this year due to the popularity of some of the schools in neighbouring authorities.

"Some of Reading’s schools have also increased in popularity while others, which have faced challenges with performance, have received fewer applications from families within their catchment area.

“We appreciate it is always disappointing for families who are not offered one of their preferred schools but our best efforts have been made to accommodate applications as far as possible.”

More than 28 per cent of applications were allocated places at schools outside of Reading Borough.

The results show 13.07 per cent of pupils were allocated a spot at their second preference, 5.58 per cent at their third preference and 2.25 per cent at their fourth choice.