Almost one in three Birmingham 11-year-olds are missing out on their first choice secondary school - more than twice the national average.
Newly published Government figures revealed a total of 31.3 per cent of city youngsters due to enter Year 7 this September were not offered their top preference.
The national average is just 14.8 per cent. The revelation was condemned as a "nightmare" by city Labour MP Liam Byrne.
He said: "There's just not enough places to go round. We're Britain's youngest city and we want to be Britain's best-educated city.
"But that means the Government has to stump up for classrooms and end of the nightmare of kids criss-crossing the city for miles just to go to school."
Mr Byrne also condemned the national Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition's decision to slash a £5 billion school building project.
The Hodge Hill Labour MP said: "We warned the Government that slashing our Building Schools for the Future programme would hurt Birmingham’s parents and youngsters. And now we see the truth."
The Government figures vary from the previously published Birmingham City Council statistics.
The authority revealed in March that 29.7 per cent of families failed to obtain their first choice school.
More government numbers showed that, nationally, around one in seven pupils - 14.8 per cent - missed out on their first preference secondary school for September, up from 13.3 per cent last year.
Whitehall statistics showed 6.1 per cent of city pupils were offered a school that was not one of their six preferences, against 2.6 per cent nationally.
In regional terms, the West Midlands was second only to London for a failure to obtain a first choice secondary school place, according to the Government.
Across the area as a whole, 18 per cent of children missed out. In the capital, 29.8 per cent of 11-year-olds failed to obtain their first choice school.
The total number of secondary school applications in Birmingham was 7.2 per cent higher than the number of available places.
Immigration and a baby boom were believed to lie behind the clamour for Birmingham's best schools.
Previous studies revealed that, during the 12 years from 2000 to 2012, the number of children born in the city increased by 25 per cent.
But allocation of places at city primary schools was broadly in line with the national average.
A total of 87.5 per cent of primary applicants in Birmingham were offered a place at their first preference school.
Referring to the city council's own admissions figures, an authority spokeswoman said: "This year the number of parents/carers offered their first preferred school was 70.3 per cent. And almost 94 per cent of parents/carers were offered one of their preferred schools.
"It is important to remember that grammar schools form part of this process. If a child does not get into a grammar school, this will register as not getting one of their preferred schools.
"Parents should be realistic about their preferences. It is important to include at least one school where they think they have a good chance of getting a place, for example, a nearby school that would qualify in terms of distance."
The city council is currently carrying out a public consultation on its Education Development Plan, which will see thousands of new primary and secondary school places created across the city to cope with rising demand.
The authority will receive £107 million over the next three years from central government to create the new places, as part of a national £2.35 billion scheme for additional pupil places for 2015 to 2017.
Demand is expected to be highest in Hall Green, Hodge Hill, Moseley, Sheldon, Yardley, Springfield and Washwood Heath.
The problem is exacerbated because the council has responsibility for providing school places but no direct control of a high proportion of the schools in Birmingham. Officials are planning to work with free school and academies to help take some of the demand and expand if necessary.
Consultation meetings are taking place in schools across the city in the next three weeks about the plan, which also looks at school maintenance and sustainability and education and training provision for 16- to 19-year-olds.
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