THERE has been a big increase in the number of families being allocated their first choice of Devon secondary school places for September.

New figures, announced on March 1, show that 92.5 per cent of families in Devon who applied for a place next September have been offered their first preference.

That compares with 90.4 per cent last year.

In all, 97.8 per cent of families will get one of their three preferences with 4.7 per cent allocated their second preference and 0.6 per cent their third.

That compares with 96.8 per cent last year.

This year, 7,465 allocations were made for a place at a Devon mainstream secondary school. 

Parents were notified of their places on March 1 and Devon County Council's admissions team is available to deal with enquiries supported by the schools team at Devon’s Customer Service Centre.

Devon’s Cabinet Member for schools, Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, said: “When the national statistics are released, it’s likely that Devon will, once again, have one of the best figures for meeting school preferences.

“It is a testament to the hard work of our admissions and school organisation teams and the partnership and co-operation we have received from the heads, staff and governors of Devon’s secondary schools that more than nine out of 10 families have received their first preference and the number is up on last year.

“These are obviously early statistics and are quite likely to improve even more before September as appeals are heard and other factors are taken into account, such as parents not taking up places they have been offered.”

The figures include children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) who have been allocated places in mainstream schools but not children placed in specialist or independent settings who have an EHCP.