Secondary school offers day in Bristol

Families across Bristol will receive an offer of a secondary school place today (1 March) on National Offer Day.

This year almost 93% (92.5) of applicants were offered a place in one of their three preferred schools – with over three quarters (77%) getting a place at their first choice, which is up 2% from 2015. In line with the last year, 7.5% did not receive one of their preferences and will be offered a place at a suitable alternative school.

Applications have increased by 41% in the past five years, with 4,439 received this year, which shows how confidence in the city’s education system has increased.

Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, said:

“Secondary education in Bristol has been improving steadily, with results on a clear upward trajectory. This is reflected in greater demand for places and while I recognise some families may be disappointed not achieving their top choices, I’m pleased that the great majority have been offered one of their preferred schools. As a Learning City, Bristol has committed to improving life-long learning opportunities for all – and supporting schools and pupils is an essential part of this.”

Councillor Brenda Massey, Assistant Mayor for People with responsibility for education and skills, said:

“I welcome the fact that even more parents are choosing to send their children to school in Bristol as this is testament to the hard work of headteachers, families and students across the city. Although we do our best to ensure that as many pupils as possible get a place at one of their preferred schools, I would like to encourage families who’ve missed out to keep an open mind about high quality alternative choices available. We will be working with families to find suitable options and ensure children benefit from a smooth transition to secondary school.”

There are now 22 secondary schools in Bristol and 95% are rated as good or outstanding.

Paul Jacobs, Bristol City Council’s Service Director for education and skills, said:

“We are investing in Bristol’s schools and recognise the need to create more places to keep up with demand. By 2017 we will have provided 10,000 additional primary school places, and with our partners we have recently agreed a new strategy to make sure we are able to provide enough places in all education settings over the coming few years.

“The strategy is based on high quality data about pupil projection predications about where places will be needed most across secondary schools, early years and specialist settings, including for students with social, emotional and mental health needs. Professionals across all these areas have come together to shape the strategy and we’ve identified where the most pressing needs are likely to be. We’re approaching place provision in a more holistic way and working together to ensure the best outcomes for students and ensure we can provide high quality, inspiring learning environments.”

With an expanding city population it is estimated that 18 new forms of entry (540 places) for secondary school places will be needed by 2019 along with more places for two, three and four year olds as well as pupils with special educational needs.

A number of essential schemes, required to address the city’s most urgent needs, have been identified in the strategy. These have now been approved and will move to the next stage of planning. A new Secondary Free School is also proposed as part of the plans which would attract its own funding.

Parents have until Tuesday 15 March to accept their offer of a school place. Students who did not get one of their preferred schools will be offered a place at an alternative school with a place available – in the majority of instances this is the area school or next nearest school with a place available.