A TAUNTON primary school is the most oversubscribed in Somerset, new figures from the Department for Education have revealed.

The data shows how many places schools offered compared to the number of first-preference applications they received for this academic year (2023/24).

Overall, 94.5 per cent of applicants received an offer from their first-choice primary school, and 98.6 per cent got a space at one of their top three.

Somerset Council, which handles school applications, says it works to raise the standards of schools across the county so parents feel they can choose their local primary “without any compromise”.

Nerrols Primary School, part of the Richard Huish Trust, topped the list with the number of first-choice applications nearly doubling the number of offered places.

Schools in Norton St Philip, Frome, Wellington, Yeovil and Bridgwater were among those to receive more applications than they had spaces – as shown by our searchable table (below).

Other schools across the county are undersubscribed including several in the Taunton area, such as Cheddon Fitzpaine and Lyngford Park.

In some cases, the number of first-preference applications they received were around half the number of places they went on to offer.

The Department for Education has previously released data on primary schools' performance based on pupils' standards at the end of Key Stage 2.

Some of the 20 most oversubscribed schools scored highly against the department's ‘expected standard’ metric, which considered how pupils performed based on reading and maths tests and their standard of writing.

This includes Kingsmoor (83 per cent meeting expected standard), Trull (77 per cent), North Petherton (75 per cent) and Northgate (68 per cent).

But some of the undersubscribed schools also scored well; Norton-sub-Hamdon (78 per cent) received 12 first-preference applications but had 16 places.

Cheddon Fitzpaine also scored highly (71 per cent) but was able to offer 21 places compared to its 13 first-preference applications.

Somerset Council offers the free and impartial Somerset Choice Advice Service to help families with school admissions, appeals and transitions.

A council spokesperson said: “Overall, there are more than enough places in Somerset schools, and pupil numbers across the county are dropping in many places.

“However, one of the reasons schools can become oversubscribed is because standards are higher than some other choices in the locality.

“We work hard to raise the standard of education in schools and nurseries, including working with the trusts who run academy schools.

“We want every child to have access to a great local school so that parents feel they can choose their local school without any compromise.”

The Department for Education says 92.5 per cent of parents successfully got their child a space in their first-preference primary school.

This fell to 82.6 per cent for secondary schools.