Good news for newest pupils
Updated 4:58pm Thursday 17th April 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
NINETY-TWO per cent of parents in Swindon will be able to send their children to their first choice of primary school in September.
Almost 3,000 parents were told yesterday which school their four-year-olds would be attending.
Of the 2,729 on-time applications made for the September intake, 92 per cent were matched with their first-choice school and 98 per cent were matched with one of their three preferred choices.
The figures from Swindon Council compare favourably with the admissions process in 2013, when 91 per cent got their first choice and 97 per cent received one of their top three preferences.
The council was also pleased to report it was able to place a higher percentage of parents with their first choices, despite an increase in overall applications, up 63 from 2,666 in 2013.
A council spokesman said: “We have more spaces. We are able to provide these encouraging figures because of our massive school building programme.
“Planning school places is incredibly difficult, you have to plan several years in advance and try to predict where growth is going to occur and where school places are going to be needed.
“We have to predict which sorts of houses young families will be attracted to, build schools accordingly and, if they don’t end up in those houses we have to plan again and adjust to the relevant needs across the town.
“Essentially, we have more schools, which is why we were able to place so many parents with their first choices.
“There was a shortage of places in Old Town, which is why we built Croft Primary School, in Hesketh Crescent.
“There’s also the new school at Tadpole Farm, which might not be on its intended site initially, but it will still provide spaces we didn’t previously have. These are examples of how we have been able to do it.”
Jane Leo, the headteacher at Tadpole Farm Academy, which will open with a two-form entry in September, said the first list the school has received from the council has 20 pupils’ names.
“It’s exciting news,” she said. “I have also had an e-mail from the council asking who parents should contact if they wanted to place their child with us, which suggests they have also had requests from parents.”
She has also had three inquiries from parents looking to switch their first choice to Tadpole.
“It’s nice being in the first group of children this school will ever have and parents recognise that,” she said.
The school has room for 60 reception children in September and Jane said the number on the initial list is likely to double by the time term starts.