Academic Year 2022/23

Secondary and primary school applications and offers

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See all updates (2) for Academic Year 2022/23
  1. new_la_code corrected for Buckinghamshire for the year 2021/22 and 2022/23

  2. Two typos fixed: rounding in first line of secondary section; reference year corrected in first line of primary section

Introduction

These statistics provide the number of applications and offers made for secondary and primary school entry in September 2022, and the proportion which received preferred offers.

The data is collected from local authorities. The offers were made, and data collected, based on the national offer days of 1 March 2022 (secondary) and 19 April 2022 (primary).

Figures are provided at national, regional and local authority level. A time series is provided from 2014, when primary data was first collected following the inaugural primary national offer day.

The application and offer data is gathered at pupil level from which school level figures can be produced. A timeseries of this data has now been included in the ‘All supporting files’ within the ‘Explore data and files’ section of this publication. It shows the number of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and total preferences expressed, and the number of offers, also by 1st, 2nd, 3rd and total preferences, as well as a range of contextual data.


Headline facts and figures - 2022/23

Explore data and files

All data used in this release is available as open data for download


Open data

Browse and download individual open data files from this release in our data catalogue


Guidance

Learn more about the data files used in this release using our online guidance


Create your own tables

You can view featured tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from the open data using our table tool


All supporting files

All supporting files from this release are listed for individual download below:

List of all supporting files
  • school level secondary and primary applications and offers 2022 (csv, 44 Mb)
    More details for file school level secondary and primary applications and offers 2022
    data from the application and offer collections from 2014 to date, produced at school level and giving the number of preferences expressed for each school, by rank, and the number of offers, also by rank, as well as contextual data.

Secondary applications and offers

Secondary applications

614,100 applications were received for a place at secondary school in 2022. This is the highest number of applications recorded since the timeseries started in 2014. 

Secondary results

The proportion of secondary applicants receiving an offer of their first choice school has increased to 83.3% - up from 81.1% in 2021.

The 2021 figure was affected by the delay to the selective school tests in autumn 2020 which meant that in some local authorities parents and carers could name selective schools on the form when their child may not have reached the standard required to be eligible for an offer. 

The comparative first preference rates for local authorities with and without selective schools for the last three years, showing the drop in 2021 and subsequent recovery, are provided in the chart below.

The proportion of applicants who received an offer of any of their preferred secondary schools was slightly up at 95.8% (95.5% in 2021).

A timeseries of key results from 2014 are provided in the following table.

Secondary geographical variation

At local authority level the three highest first preference rates were achieved in 2022 by:

  • Central Bedfordshire (98.2%)
  • East Riding of Yorkshire (96.9%)
  • Rutland (96.7%)

Central Bedfordshire is the only local authority whose largest secondary entry point is year 9, which is therefore what they report on.

The local authorities with the lowest first preference rates were: 

  • Kensington & Chelsea (60.5%)
  • Lewisham (62.0%)
  • Hammersmith & Fulham (62.1%)

However, the first preference rate for Hammersmith & Fulham has increased by nearly 5 percentage points from 2021.

In London, the higher number of practical options available to applicants and the ability to name six schools may encourage parents and carers to make more speculative choices for their top preferences. 

As expected, there is much less variation in the proportions receiving any preferred offer compared to those for receiving a first preference.

Secondary cross local authority offers

An applicant can apply to their local authority for any school, including those situated in another local authority. 

In 2022 92.3% of secondary offers made were of schools inside the home authority. This figure reached a low of 91.4% in 2017/18 but has been very gradually increasing since then.

Primary applications and offers

Primary applications

576,100 applications were received for a place at primary school in 2022, a 0.8% decrease on 2021 (which itself was a 5.1% decrease on the figure for 2020).

There has been a reduction in births in England from late 2016 onwards which generally leads to a drop in the number of children coming into primary school. The ages applying to start school in September 2022 were born between September 2017 and August 2018.

During the 2021 collection process, a number of local authorities advised that a larger than usual number of applications were submitted late, which means they were not counted in that year’s collection. The application deadline was during the winter pandemic period and, therefore, extra pressures on parents and carers may have impacted on them submitting their application on time. There might also have been other factors reducing the number of applications for that year (for example, an increase in parents choosing to home school).

The much smaller drop in the number of applications this year implies that these additional effects were limited to the height of the pandemic.

Primary results

The proportion of primary applicants receiving an offer of their first choice school has increased slightly to 92.2% - up from 91.8% in 2021.

The proportion of applicants who received an offer of any of their preferred primary schools was unchanged compared to 2021 at 98.4%, with 9,000 applicants not receiving an offer of one of their preferred schools.

A timeseries of key results from 2014 are provided in the following table.

Primary geographical variation

At local authority level the three highest first preference rates were achieved in 2022 by:

  • Redcar & Cleveland (98.9%)
  • Cumbria (98.7%)
  • Middlesbrough (98.4%)

Redcar & Cleveland has had the highest first preference rate for the last three years. 

As in previous years, the lowest first preference rates at primary level are all in London:

  • Kensington & Chelsea (69.5%)
  • Hammersmith & Fulham (81.0%)
  • Wandsworth (82.5%)

Kensington & Chelsea has been in the bottom three since 2015. 

The only non-London local authority in the bottom ten was:

  • Windsor & Maidenhead (83.8%) 

The higher number of practical options available to London applicants and ability to name six preferences may encourage parents and carers to make more speculative choices for their top preferences. 

As expected, there is much less variation in the proportions receiving any preferred offer compared to those for receiving a first preference.

Primary cross local authority offers

An applicant can apply to their local authority for any school, including those situated in another local authority. 

In 2022 96.8% of primary offers made were of schools inside the home authority. This figure has been broadly stable for the past few years.

Further information available

This release concentrates on the headline figures for the proportion of children receiving their first preference or a preferred offer. 

However, the data provides more information including:

  • the number of places available
  • the proportion of children for whom a preferred offer was not received
  • the proportion of applicants who were provided with offers within or outside their home authority
  • the number of non-applicants who were made an offer

In addition, the release also now provides a time series of school level figures which shows the number of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and total preferences expressed, and the number of offers, also by 1st, 2nd, 3rd and total preferences, as well as a range of contextual data.

This data is found in ‘All supporting files’ within the ‘Explore data and files’ section of this publication. Detailed information on this data, including the processing undertaken and how it can be interpreted, is found in the ‘School level data’ section of the methodology document. Specific data quality issues are recorded in the ‘Data quality’ section.
 

Help and support

Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics

Official statistics

These are Official Statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

Ask questions and provide feedback

If you have a specific enquiry about Secondary and primary school applications and offers statistics and data:

School preference statistics team

Email
school.preference@education.gov.uk

Telephone: Helen Bray
0370 000 2288

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone
020 7783 8300

Public enquiries

If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

Telephone
037 0000 2288

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Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays)