Bristol’s plan to provide school places pays off in record year

Work to increase the number of school places in Bristol has helped the city council meet demand from a record number of applicants, which reached 5,716 applications this year.

Since 2011 Bristol City Council has been working with partners and schools across the city to provide 10,000 additional primary places by 2017, and the strategy has paid off with more families being offered their first choice of school this year.

Figures show nearly 3% increase in families offered their first choice of school (86.7%) in comparison to last year, whilst 95.6% families were offered one of their top three preferences which is the same number as 2015. In line with last year a small percentage (4.4%) of families did not get one of their preferred schools and have instead been offered a place at an alternative school.

Paul Jacobs, service director for education and skills at Bristol City Council, said:

“Our pupil projections forecast that this would be one of the biggest years for primary applications, which has indeed been the case. I’m pleased that we have been able to successfully plan ahead, and our approach of working with partners to look ahead and provide more places in the city is paying off.

“As a Learning City many different organisations are working together to improve the education system and it is testament to Bristol’s teachers and the strong leadership in the city’s schools that demand for places continues to rise.

“Whilst most families have been offered one of their preferred schools, I appreciate some families may disappointed. I would like to ask parents who have not got one of their top preferences to keep an open mind and consider visiting some of the other options. There are many high quality schools in the city offering access to an excellent education with the overwhelming majority rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED.”

To ensure there are enough places for everyone across all different stage and types of education the council has worked with partners to develop a new Integrated Education Capital Strategy, which outlines a more holistic approach to providing school places. It is expected that pressure on primary school places will ease in the coming years thanks to the extensive building programme undertaken.

Parents who applied online will be sent a notification email on Monday 18 April 2016 on a staggered basis.

For online applications where a first preference school has been offered, this can be accepted or declined online. For families who completed paper application forms, or online applications where a first preference offer cannot be made, a letter will be sent by first class post on 18 April 2016. Parents will be asked to complete the reply form sent with the letter and return it to school admissions by 3 May 2016.