Every child starting secondary school in Brighton and Hove in September will go to one of their top three preferences or a school within their catchment area.
Of the 2,344 applicants in the city, more than 95% were offered a place at one of their three preferred schools in this year’s secondary school admissions round and 82% will go to their first choice school.
The council held a committee meeting on Monday to discuss 22 students who had not been accepted at a school in their catchment area and decided they will go to Varndean or Dorothy Stringer – among the top three choices of all the families’.
Unlucky Eloise Woodman’s son Oscar, from Brighton, was one of the initially unlucky 22.
The 42-year-old was thrilled when she received an email to say her son will be given a place at Varndean.
She said: “I’m just so relieved and Oscar is really chuffed.
“At first he said he was glad it was him and not one of his friends who hadn’t got into their choice of school, because they wouldn’t have taken it so well.
“But since we’ve been told he is going to Varndean I can tell he was hiding his disappointment a little bit.
“It would have meant him not going to school with his mates and the network I had built up as a parent would have been ruined.
“I’ve lived and worked in Brighton all my life and I felt as though I was owed a place at one of those schools.”
The remaining 93 students not to have been offered a place in their top three schools had applied for schools outside their catchment area or had made an error in their application.
The council’s director of children’s services, Pinaki Ghoshal, said: “Since the catchment area system was introduced in 2008 every child who has stated a preference for their catchment area school – or schools in the two dual catchment areas – has been offered a place either in a school in their catchment area or a school higher up their preference list.
“By law we have never been able to guarantee this.
“However, the catchment areas were carefully designed to reflect the numbers of pupils and school places available in each area.”
But Mr Ghoshal admitted changes do need be made to the system.
He added: “We recognise that since the catchment areas were agreed in 2007 there have been demographic changes in the city.
“We are also very aware of rising numbers of primary age children in the city.
“We therefore intend to review our secondary admissions system in order to try and minimise the chances of this situation happening in future.”
Across the county more than 93% of pupils were offered their first choice schools in West Sussex and more than 90% in East Sussex.