Almost a third of Birmingham children missed out on their top choice in the annual race for secondary school places.
Families across the city will be finding out today if they have been successful in landing an all-important place at their chosen school for this September.
Of the 13,400 Birmingham youngsters who applied, more than 9,000 were offered their first choice, with 4,200 missing out.
Under the admissions process, parents have to pick up to six secondary schools and list them in order of preference on an application form.
Birmingham City Council’s Admissions and Appeals Service show that 95 per cent of Birmingham pupils were offered one of their six choices.
A council spokesman said: “The school admissions team has processed more than 15,000 applications for secondary school places this year.
“Parents in Birmingham can submit up to six preferences, including grammar schools, and we always advise that parents are realistic when making their preferences.
‘‘As getting into a grammar school requires a selective test, this can distort the figures.
“At the time of submission all applications are treated as equal and parents whose child does not get into grammar school are not disadvantaged.
‘‘The advice from the local authority is that parents include at least one preference for a nearby school where their child would have got in under the distance criterion in the past.
“For the vast majority of families, the reason they do not get their first preference is because other children better met the school’s admission criteria than their child,’’ the spokesman said.
A number of factors are taken into account when school place allocation decisions are made.
They include whether a pupil has a statement of special educational needs, whether they are in council care, whether they have a brother or sister at the school and how far away they live.
*The admissions team is operating a hotline on Thursday (March 1) for parents wanting advice on what to do next if they did not get their preferred school. For more information, call 0121 675 0555.