More families offered first-choice secondary school - despite rise in pupil numbers

Almost nine out of 10 Oxfordshire children due to start secondary school in September have been offered a place at their first-choice school.

In total 88.83 per cent of pupils have received a first-preference offer – slightly higher than last year’s figure (88.64 per cent) and despite an increase in pupils transferring to secondary schools in Oxfordshire.

A further six per cent have been offered their second choice and 1.55 per cent offered their third preference. This leaves just 3.17 per cent of applicants being offered a place at a school not among their stated preferences.

School place planning

Overall 6848 Oxfordshire children are transferring to secondary schools this year – 229 more than in 2017. Of these, 6083 have been offered their first preference school – 216 more than last year.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Public Health Hilary Hibbert-Biles said: “Once again we have been able to give the vast majority of families the news they were hoping to receive – which is especially pleasing given the larger number of children transferring from primary school this year. Oxfordshire has a strong record on school place-planning and compares very favourably with other parts of the country when it comes to making first-choice offers.”

Meeting the challenge

Like many other parts of the country, the secondary school-age population in Oxfordshire is expected to continue to increase over the next few years, as the growth seen at primary schools over the last decade translates into greater demand for secondary school places.

Cllr Hibbert-Biles added: “We are well-placed to meet this challenge, both through our ongoing work with existing schools to identify expansion opportunities where they are needed, and our role in delivering entirely new schools where local housing growth demands their provision.”


An appeal process is available to families wishing to challenge the outcome of their application, and details of how to do this have been sent to parents. Children's names can also be placed on ‘continued interest’ lists in case places become available at schools between now and September.

Late applications

Anyone who has yet to apply for a secondary school place for their child for September 2018, should print out and complete an application form (using the link below) and submit it to the council’s admissions team as soon as possible.