INCREASING demand for school places in Surrey could leave the county facing a £100million deficit by the end of the decade.

That was the grim warning from the county’s cabinet member for education Cllr Mary Lewis this week.

She said there had been an eight per cent increase in applications for secondary places this year.

But although 83.6 per cent got their first choice and 93.3 per cent one of their top three, she warned that the cost of providing 18,000 more primary and secondary places in the last seven years had put a huge strain on budgets. The council processed 851 more applications this year than last - enough to fill an entire new secondary school.

Cllr Lewis said: “It’s not over yet. We still need thousands more places because of the increase in the number of school age children in Surrey. By the end of the decade we will face a shortfall in Government funding of over £100million and that’s why we continue to press for fair funding for Surrey - I hope parents will back us.”

Parents can state six preferences when it comes to the school they want their child to go to.

As of last Thursday, 973 children within Runnymede Borough Council area got their first preference schools, with 43 having to accept second choice and 19 third.

Magna Carta School in Egham accepted 224 pupils who had named it first choice, eight who had made it their second and just two for whom it came third.

The Salesian School in Guildford Road, Chertsey - first choice for many in the borough - was able to take 255 first choice pupils, five for whom it was second choice and three for whom it was first.

In the Surrey Heath council area 758 pupils got into their first choice school, 42 into their second and 11 into their third choice.

Collingwood College in Kingston Road, Camberley accommodated 301 of pupils whose parents picked it as first choice, 18 second choicers and five who placed it third.

Kings International College in Watchetts Drive, Camberley took 106 of those who placed it first with three for whom it was second choice and one who placed it third.

‘We still need thousands more places because of the increase in the number of school age children’