COMPETITION for secondary school places has always been tough, but this year, hundreds of pupils will not be going to any of the three schools of their choice.

Bolton Council received a record number of applications for secondary places this year ­— 4,110 compared to 3,975 last year.

The increase is due to rising birth rates and people moving into the area.

This shortfall is expected to more than double this year and rise to 725 by 2023.

Council chiefs say they are already looking to the future to manage this, with the possibility of more schools opening under the Government’s free school programme in the coming years.

First choice schools were awarded to 73.8 per cent (3,033 pupils) compared to 82 last year, second choice offers were made to 12 per cent (493 pupils) compared to just over nine per cent last year, and the number receiving their third place choice stood at 4.5 per cent (185 children) compared to 3.18 per cent.

A total of 9.7 per cent — children — did not receive an offer to go to any of the three applied for — compared to five per cent last year.

A number of those who did not receive one of the three choices will have assigned places at the new King’s Leadership Academy in Great Lever.

The result is that everyone who applied for a secondary school place got one.

Although it will not stop parents and pupils being disappointed on missing out on their choices.