COLCHESTER’S most popular secondary schools are well oversubscribed, new figures have revealed.

Data released by Essex County Council shows the number of applications made to secondary schools in the borough.

The school which most students in Colchester put down as their first choice was The Gilberd, in Brinkley Lane.

A total of 457 students put the school down as their first choice, with 300 places available.

Another 120 places are also available for the new Trinity School, which will be based at The Gilberd for the next two years.

Trinity is not included in the figures, but Mark Orrin, acting deputy head of The Gilberd and future Head of School at Trinity School, said it was also oversubscribed.

He said: “We are delighted parents trust us at The Gilberd with their children’s education and want to send their kids here.

“We are proud of that, but it is a double-edged sword as we know there are more parents who want to send their children here then we can take.”

“The same can be said about Trinity School. We are delighted funding is confirmed and we are looking forward to welcoming the first pupils in September.”

Second most popular was the Colchester County High School for Girls grammar school, which only offers places to students who have attained top marks in the 11-plus exam.

It has 392 first preferences for 192 places.

Executive principal Gillian Marshall said: “It is pleasing to see the continuing positive interest among parents in the education that we offer here.

“This is a tribute to the professionalism, commitment and hard work of our teachers and students and the support of their families and our governors.”

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Colchester Royal Grammar School was third with 338 applications for 127 places.

Stanway School had 293 students choose it as their first choice with 277 places available.

The new Paxman Academy, in Paxman Avenue, had 195 students choose it as their first choice, with 177 places on offer. 157 students got it as their first choice, 15 as their second, four as their third and one as their fourth.

Philip Morant was next with 184 first preferences, however, the school has almost double this amount of places with 337.

Pupils who put the school as their second to fifth choices were allocated the remaining spaces.

A total of 170 pupils put Thurstable School in Tiptree as first choice, 149 wanted to go to Thomas, Lord Audley School, 139 applied to St Helena School and 124 to St Benedict’s Catholic College.

Colchester Academy, in Hawthorn Avenue, had 94 pupils select it as first choice, with 182 places available for Year 7 students at the school.

A total of 105 pupils in the borough were allocated a school on distance - with 35 given places at Philip Morant, 50 at Colchester Academy and 20 at Thurstable.

Here are all the figures for schools across Colchester:

Essex County Council says 97 per cent of parents in the county were offered one of their named choices of schools this year. Just over 91 per cent received either their first or second choice.

Ray Gooding, councillor responsible for education, said: “I am delighted that, once again, we have been able to offer so many pupils their preferred secondary school place.

“It has been a challenging year for young people across the county and I hope those embarking on this exciting next step enjoy their last few months at Primary and Junior School before they set out on their next academic adventure.”