16% miss out on their first choice of Wilmslow High School


Parents of Cheshire East school children received confirmation of the allocation of secondary school places earlier this month.

The Council worked with local schools to offer preference places to 96.5 per cent of Cheshire East residents with 90 per cent offered their first preference of secondary school, compared to 94 per cent last year.

The majority of parents of Cheshire East school children got their first choice of secondary school place. Cheshire East Council worked with the local schools to offer preference places to 97 per cent (an increase from 96.5 per cent in 2019) of Cheshire East residents with 91.6 per cent (compared to 90 per cent in 2019) being offered their first preference of secondary school.
However, figures obtained via a Freedom of Information Request showed that of the total number who requested Wilmslow High School as their first choice only 84% were successful, with 63 students losing out.
Wilmslow High School had 345 places to allocate for the academic year beginning September 2019, but the total number of applications for places at the school was 576.

Of the 345 places allocated, 334 went to those who made Wilmslow High their first choice.

A total of 80 second preference requests were made for the school and 65 third choice requests.

The school borders other local authorities and in total there were 72 applications from people living outside of Cheshire East.

Wilmslow High School


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Fiona Doorbar
Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 5:56 am
A rise of 3% from last year and no doubt will increase again next year with all of the building and plans to build more. What a shame for those local families that have missed out on their place.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 8:27 am
@ Fiona... Fully concur.. Its a great school with some great teachers and facilities... But the pressure of years of development ignoring infrastructure support has just been ignored in the past... I hope that situation will change moving forward ... but that is no consolation for the families and students now forced out of their first choice local school due to such logistics... WHS needs support in buildings, staff, etc... The historical documented failings of others on these pages, must be the challenge for CEC and Govt to now act.
Jon Newell
Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 8:34 am
Not all the 16% who missed out will be from Wilmslow nor will all of those who were successful in their applications.
What is clear is that the High School is beyond capacity and this is before all of the new houses under construction / being planned between central Wilmslow and Handforth are occupied by families.
We need to remember that the new intake at the High School each year are only 11 years old.
Is it reasonable to expect these young people (no - children) to spend 2 hours each day travelling to and from school? Often in the dark.
These young people are key to the future of our community.
Simply put, we can not keep building houses unless we build schools - and the schools have to come first.
John Barnes
Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 12:21 pm
I agree completely with the comments above. A complete lack of thought when it comes to planning new houses by CE.

In the 80's we had 3 high schools in the area: Dean Row, Thorngrove and Harefield. In Handforth we had the Infant School, Handforth Hall, and Wilmslow Grange.
Now in Handforth we only have Handforth Grange (was Wilmslow Grange) and in Wilmslow we have one school the size of a small city called Wilmslow High (the old Harefield site). So we have lost 4 schools in the area.

We currently have new builds houses going up now totalling in the region of 570 homes around the Handforth area, that's not counting the garden village or developments in Wilmslow. So to me we have a complete mismatch between new houses and school places.

This lack of planning has just come apparent to us as a family.
I have lived in Handforth all my life, been to all the stated schools above. My son how has special needs, who is currently at Handforth Grange therefore we applied for Wilmslow High. The school CE came back with was CONGLETON HIGH!!! a full 16 miles away.

He is totally fretting about the prospect of going to Congleton. His best friend and support is going to Wilmslow, he's been on school visits and sport events to get him used to Wilmslow. We have met with the SEN team at Wilmslow and the SENCO at Handforth Grange has also met her Wilmslow counter parts to talk about the transition to Wilmslow. This situation is totally wrong and avoidable with some planning!

Hes not the only one around Pickmere Road, I know of 4 children in his year that have been given the same placement and I just cannot understand how a school 16 miles away could have been picked by CE. Transport costs and carbon footprint must be huge running children from Handforth to Congleton and back.

There is a limit to how many buildings you can fit on a school playing field so they cant keep expanding the schools. New schools should come before any new housing.
Jon Newell
Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 2:12 pm
To John Barnes

Your post made me really sad.

I know we all have much more to think about right now but Coronavirus will pass and your family’s issue will remain. And you will not be the only ones.

How did we ever get here? It is not really a Local Govt issue.
Almost everyone I know in the sector forecasted this years ago.

I suppose generations of Local Govt should have stood up to National Govt and said “impossible”. However, they let short term political pressure force them to accept the unacceptable.

It is not unique to CEC - it happened everywhere and those who claimed credit for these decisions are now claiming expenses from the House of Lords.
Fiona Doorbar
Thursday 26th March 2020 at 6:20 am
John , my heart goes out to you and your son.... please use all your power to appeal. My eldest (now in 6th form but not a SEN student) was declined a place at WHS when 11, after many sleepless nights and frantic e mail writing I managed to get him in at the eleventh hour. It was a very stressful time for us at a time when he should have been excited with his friends about his future!! Maybe you are furloughed from work at the moment...use this time to build your case and if you need help there is lots online for you. Good luck and stay strong
Simon Worthington
Thursday 26th March 2020 at 8:09 am
John Barnes - how awful. I suggest research Human Rights Act and consult an able lawyer with regard to child abuse of which the Council is surely guilty.
This stinks especially as the school managed to extract extra funding/building permission on the basis of catering to special needs children after it had extracted extra funding to be a "sports specialist".
The whole local population with the exception of the Council along with bordering Councils saw this coming.
A very simple answer is to allocate places within the catchment on the basis of how long you have resided in the catchment area. If this impacts on the sales of new family sized dwellings then tough and let the builders deal with the Council.
John Barnes
Thursday 26th March 2020 at 1:38 pm
Thanks for the comments.
My wife called CEC yesterday to find out if we have a place in Wilmslow. CEC said "if you have not had any communication saying you have been issued a place then you don't have one"

We were lead to believe they would let us know if we 'had' OR 'had not' got a place, since we rejected Congleton via the web portal and Email.

We also assumed, due to Covid-19, the selection process had been affected, delaying the communication. We called a few weeks ago and CEC said they were working on it now.

If it wasn't for this story prompting the call we would have missed the appeal deadline (Deadline for high school appeals 30/03/2020).

Its all a shambles!
Fiona Doorbar
Thursday 26th March 2020 at 4:15 pm
Good luck with your appeal.... use the internet for advice and tips