More than 83% of parents got their first choice for their children’s primary school places in Reading this year, despite an increase in 160 applications compared to last year.

Brighter Futures for Children, which delivers education services in Reading, has made sure all primary school pupils in the borough have a place for September. Of these, 83.44% (1,753 pupils) got their first choice and just 3.33% (70 pupils) were offered a divert option.

The number of applications for places at Reading’s primary schools has increased, up from 1,882 in 2019 to 2,042 this year.

A total of 2,140 places were available on National Offer Day (16 April) in Reading primary schools. The remaining places (160) are held for late applications and transfers during the academic year.

This year, a new Primary School Green Park Village Academy is opening in Green Park, which may account for the increase in applications.

For those who couldn’t be offer a place, a divert school has been offered. All divert schools are considered to be within a reasonable distance of the child’s home address. This accounts for 3% of applications.

Late applications have still to be processed.

In addition, there were 150 pupils who needed an infant to junior school transfer. Reading has only two schools for which this transfer is necessary. 98.67% of Reading residents’ on-time applications received their first preference.  There were two pupils who were not offered a place at their preferred school but they are not attending an infant school. Late applications for these, too, still have to be processed.

Prof Dr Kate Reynolds, Director of Education at Brighter Futures for Children, said:

‘It’s no surprise to us that there has been an increase in applications for Reading’s primary schools this year. Parents are very happy with the very impressive education their children receive in the borough and we are working closely with all schools to maintain and further improve standards all the time.

‘I’d like to personally thank all primary school staff for their continued commitment to making Reading such a popular choice and I’d also like to thank the education team at Brighter Futures for Children for working so hard to ensure so many families got their preferred choices and that every child in the borough has been offered a place. I wish all children starting at primary school this year all the very best for the future.’

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Education, said: ‘It’s great to see more parents choosing Reading’s primary schools and over 95% getting one of their top 3 choices. Welcome to Green Park Village Academy as the newest member of our primary family here in Reading.

‘I’d also like to take this opportunity to extend thanks to all of our schools in Reading for all that they’ve done to keep the children of key workers and vulnerable children safe and in school, keeping home learning going so well, and still managing to help us with the admissions process. We continue to be grateful for all education staff going above and beyond every day.’

2020 2019 2018 2017
Number of applicants 2042 1882 2102 2254
Percentage of 1st Preference offers 83.44% 87.35% 84.02% 77.50%
Percentage of Second Preference offers 8.85% 6.75% 8.80% 10.10%
Percentage of Third Preference offers 2.76% 2.66% 2.47% 3.81%
Percentage of Fourth Preference offers 1.19% 0.85% 1.05% 2.17%
Percentage of pupils offered a divert 3.33% 1.19% 3.62% 6.20%
Percentage of pupils allocated to other LA schools 10.63% 11.16% 9.61% 9.79%
2020 2019 2018 2017
Number of pupils offered first preference 1753 1644 1767 1751
Number of pupils offered second preference 186 127 185 228
Number of pupils offered third preference 58 50 52 87
Number of pupils offered fourth preference 25 16 22 49
Number of pupils offered a divert 70 36 76 139
Number of pupils allocated other LA Schools 217 210 202 222
Number of places in Reading schools allocated to children in another LA 41 43 30 37