PARENTS in Burnley will know this week whether they have been successful in the annual scramble for first-choice high school places for their youngsters.

But with three schools oversubscribed, there will be disappointments, warns MP Peter Pike.

He says Lancashire education office will do all it can to achieve a reasonable and acceptable solution, but adds: "Unfortunately they, like me, cannot work miracles!" A list showing demand for Burnley high schools and for Edge End and Mansfield High, Pendle, released by the MP, spotlights the winners and losers.

There is again big demand for Ivy Bank with 240 first choices for the 182 available places.

There are likely to be disappointments again at Habergham High, which has been made first preference by 214 parents, although only 173 places are available. Once-popular Mansfield appears to have paid a heavy price for the past year's turmoil which led to direct control by the education authority and a new acting head drafted in to address its problems. Only 180 parents have made it their first choice, although 240 places are on offer.

Towneley and Gawthorpe's places are approximately balanced by demand.

But improving Barden is this year's least popular school with just 75 first preferences for the 175 admissions available. Edge End is again unpopular, with 135 first choices for the 214 admission places.

At Walshaw there were 154 first preferences for 188 places.

Mr Pike said: "I stress parents have preferences not choices but I hope that where three reasonable preferences have been given, children will be able to get an allocation of one of those preferences.

"Parents do have a right to appeal. The figures published to me by the county council shows where the difficulties are likely."

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