Nearly 74,000 school children in England failed to get a place at their first-choice secondary school for September 2012, new figures from the Department for Education have revealed.
Schools minister Nick Gibb has welcomed the news, however, with the figure representing a fall of about 5,000 from last year.
Across England in September, close to one-in-seven secondary school pupils will begin life at a secondary school that was not their number one choice, with 85.3 per cent given a place at the school that was top of their list.
The vast majority (95.9 per cent) will be able to attend a school that was in their list of three preferred schools.
Over 503,000 school children in England were offered places at secondary schools on March 1st and the figures are based on the National Offer Day data from 151 local authorities.
Commenting on the statistics, Mr Gibb said he was pleased that more pupils are gaining a place at their preferred school, but said that there was still work to do to make this a reality for every child.
"Parents are faced with an extremely competitive and stressful process for securing a place for their children," he said.
"We want to ease this pressure by creating more good school places, which is the driver behind all our reforms to the education system."
He said that the new admissions code will allow outstanding schools to open up more places, while new powers to deal with bad behaviour are enabling people in education jobs to focus more of their time on teaching.
"Academies and Free Schools have given parents more choice of good school places," the Conservative MP added.
The figures also reveal that the north-east region comes top of the table when it comes to children achieving a place at their first choice secondary, with 95.1 per cent offered a place at their preferred school.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, pupils in London have the lowest chance of gaining a place at their number one school, with 67.2 per cent of new secondary school pupils set to attend their first choice in September. However, this represents an improvement of 1.3 per cent on last year.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels