Tuesday, July 16, 2024

School Places: Wrong…Do it again!

AN increasing number of parents are not ensuring their children have the widest choice of secondary school because they don’t fill in the admissions correctly.

Thurrock Council’s education portfolio holder, Leader Cllr John Kent, said on Friday (7 March): “When I saw the admissions figures I was initially shocked by the fact that around a hundred were classed as ‘unplaced’.

“Then I was told what happened.”

This year over half the parents failed to express more than two choices, 697 only expressed one preference – up by 43 on the previous year – and 409 offered only two choices, up by 68.

Cllr Kent said: “As one of my children is ‘going up to big school’ in September, I did mine online, it was quite easy.

“Parents are asked to express their preferences, from first through to sixth.

“Unfortunately quite a few stop at just one preference or perhaps only two, and if they are for over-subscribed schools and the children don’t fulfil all the criteria this can lead to problems – places have to be allocated.”

He added: “I’ve carefully avoided the use of the phrase ‘parental choice’ because there isn’t a choice and there never has been. The phrase became popular in the 1980s, but even then, in reality, parents could only express a preference.

“While the freedom and autonomy enjoyed by academies has much to recommend it, the use of a free market to determine children’s school places puts added stress on some parents and can cause some problems at this time of year.

“Parents should always fill in as many of the preference options as possible. Thurrock Council co-ordinates the admissions process, so if your first or second choices are refused by the schools the staff can refer you to the next. If there’s no third choice, you will have no say whatsoever.

“The vast majority get their first or second preference, so they get away with it, but it’s not a chance worth taking.”

Parents who have had an offer of a school they did not apply will be written to with details on how to appeal, however the council’s advice is that they should not reject it out of hand, risking having no place for their child. Parents can also contact the admissions team to see what else is available (01375 652883 or School.Admissions@thurrock.gov.uk).


  1. someone is sure to ask so it might as well be me,which one of thurrocks finest did mr kents nipper get?,or is he being bussed out of borough?.

  2. rocket1, OMG…I like your post! You’re learning (from your teacher/master) and have produced a succinct and emotive question! Well done!

    P.S. Just remember capital letters accordingly!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles