Nearly three-quarters of pupils in Barnet receive first-choice secondary school

3,159 (71.7%) children have been admitted to their first choice of Barnet secondary school for 2023-24 academic year reports Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter

Schoolchildren, shown from behind below heads with rucksacks and sports bags
Nationally, 82.6% of secondary school applicants received an offer from their first choice for 2023-24 – (Credit – Radar)

Nearly three-quarters of pupils in Barnet were admitted to their first-choice secondary school, new figures show.

The Association of School and College Leaders said the rising number of secondary school pupils is putting pressure on applications, especially in more affluent areas that have schools with good or outstanding Ofsted ratings.

Department for Education figures show 4,405 children applied for a place at a secondary school in Barnet for the 2023-24 academic year.

Of them, 3,159 (71.7%) were admitted to their first choice, while 4,128 (93.7%) received a place from at least one school in their top six choices.

Areas that allow children to select more than three preferred schools generally have a lower first-choice acceptance rate as parents tend to be a little more speculative with their applications.

Nationally, 82.6% of secondary school applicants received an offer from their first choice for 2023-24 – down from 83.3% the year before – while the proportion securing a place from any of their favoured schools fell slightly from 95.8% in 2022-23 to 95.6%.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said the slight fall in pupils receiving their first offer could be due to the rising number of applications – some 619,991 pupils applied for a secondary school place for 2023-24, the highest number since records began in 2014-15.

But in Barnet, the total number of applications fell. Despite this, the proportion of children receiving their first choice also decreased.

Mr Barton said: “The rising number of secondary-age pupils is putting additional pressure on places, particularly in schools located within affluent areas that have an outstanding or good Ofsted rating.

“Conversely, there are other schools in more challenging circumstances in other areas that are stigmatised by negative Ofsted ratings and are struggling to recruit pupils to fill their place numbers.

“It is an absolutely ridiculous situation, and the government should focus more on investing the money and support that is needed to ensure every community has good school places on their doorstep.”

Meanwhile, a record number of primary-aged pupils across the country received a place at their preferred school for 2023-24 – some 92.5% were offered their first choice, up from 92.2% in 2022-23 and the highest figure since 2014-15.

However, there was also a record low number of applications, with just 568,560 children fighting for the school places.

In Barnet, 3,345 of 3,915 children (85.4%) secured a place at their first preference.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “It is great to know that up and down the country families are able to make the right choice for their child, enrolling them in a school and environment that they feel will best support their child to learn and develop.

“Today’s figures attest to the government’s priority in providing good quality school places, which will ensure every child has the opportunity to meet their potential.”

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else. £84 annual supporters get a print copy by post and a digital copy of each month's before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly 

More Information about donations