HUNDREDS of parents missed out on their first choice primary school for their child, new figures show.

Department for education figures show that one in eight pupils missed out on gaining their parents' top pick.

In Bolton, 87.8 per cent of children starting primary school in Bolton this September received an offer from their first-choice school ­— slightly down from 88 per cent last year.

This equates to 460 families missing out on their top pick, as the number of applications to primary schools in the area rose by two per cent to 3,757.

The picture in Bolton reflected that across England, where 90.2 per cent of reception starters received an offer from their first-choice school, falling from 90.6 per cent last year.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said there is concern around a variation in rates between different areas of the country.

“It is a complex issue because it is associated with high demand for popular schools, but it means many families are left disappointed, and this issue does need to be addressed," he said.

Meanwhile, the proportion of pupils securing a place at their first-choice secondary school in Bolton rose from 75.2 per cent last year to 80.8 per cent this year.

That was lower the national rate, which increased from 80.9 per cent to 82.2 per cent over the same period.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “The anxiety families are feeling, and the disappointment for those not getting their first choice, will only be heightened by the confusion and uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

“It is vital that no child going through the primary admissions process this year should be disadvantaged.

“For those families not getting their first choice of school, the appeals process must be as robust as ever and be made clear to parents.”

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “The vast majority of parents have again received an offer from one of their top three preferences of primary or secondary school for the next academic year."