Academy is preferred choice
ALMOST three times the number of parents have chosen to send their children to Newquay Tretherras Academy this September than to Treviglas Community College.
Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Tretherras is the most oversubscribed secondary school in the county, with 300 applications for just 272 spaces.
At the other end of the spectrum, Treviglas, which has 200 places available in the first senior year, is the third most undersubscribed with 114 parents picking it as their first choice.
Head teachers at the two, which are the town's only secondary schools, explained that numbers fluctuate throughout the year and often change as the start of term approaches.
And a spokeswoman for Cornwall Council's admissions team was quick to point out that undersubscription was no reflection of the quality of the school.
She said: "Undersubscription in schools can occur for a variety of reasons and is not reflective of the performance at the school. On occasions it may simply be that the family do not realise that they have to apply for a school place when a school is within their catchment area already. Often, family movement around or into the county, due to employment for example, can also impact school place choice."
Tretherras is the larger school with around 1,600 students compared to about 1,000 at Treviglas.
Karen Ross, head teacher at Treviglas, told the Cornish Guardian: "Historically, figures at this time of year can indicate a falling roll with the current demographic profile. However, our termly data collection and school census information shows that our numbers then increase both at the start of and throughout the year."
She said the college also had a "thriving" post-16 centre with more than 200 students choosing to continue their education at the school after finishing their GCSE exams.
Sue Martin, head teacher at Tretherras, said the latest figures showed there were 295 applications for Year 7 places at the school, all of which had been accepted.
School governors made arrangements some time ago to invest in "extra staffing and additional groups" to accommodate extra students, she said.
"Newquay Tretherras has been consistently oversubscribed with first choice requests for many years," said Mrs Martin. "We are extremely pleased that the school's popularity continues and we enjoy the confidence of parents and the community in our educational provision.
"We work really hard to welcome all students into the 'Tretherras Family' and we know that many of our students wish to come here as members of their families have been here in the past."
Both heads said there was a long-established culture of support between the town's two secondary schools, as well as with local primary schools.
The most undersubscribed school in Cornwall was Redruth School with 149 applications for 260 places.