New data is out on the number of Hertfordshire pupils given a preferred secondary school place - and Watford is languishing at the bottom again.

The latest figures released by Hertfordshire County Council reveal 88.2 per cent of pupils who live within the borough of Watford who applied this year were given one of their preferred choices, which is lower than last year at 90.14 per cent.

The numbers show 140 pupils out of 1,334 who live in Watford failed to receive a place at one of their four preferred choices, which is more than any other district in Hertfordshire. A total of 802 pupils in the town were given a place at their first choice.

Watford's percentage of 88.2 for preferred secondary school admissions for 2021/22 is lower than St Albans at 97.63 per cent, Three Rivers at 93.32, Hertsmere at 91.79, and Dacorum's 94.75 per cent.

The two specific parishes of south west Hertfordshire with the lowest percentage of preferred allocations this year were Harpenden Rural (75 per cent) and Aldenham, which includes Radlett (77.2).

The parish of Aldenham dropped from a preferred allocation of 84.16 per cent recorded last year.

Hertfordshire County Council says overall, 95 per cent of children have received a place at one of their preferred secondary schools.

In total, 14,752 Hertfordshire children applied this year, with 78 per cent gaining their first place, and up to 95 per cent given one of their top four choices.

The table below shows a list of preferred allocations for parishes in south west Hertfordshire.

Councillor Terry Douris, cabinet member for education, said: "Moving on to secondary or upper school is an important step and we work extremely hard to make the applications and allocation process smooth and straightforward. We want to ensure that as many children as possible get a place at one of their preferred schools.

"We all want the best possible education for our children and we know that the county has excellent schools that perform well above the national average.

"While I appreciate that a small number of parents may be disappointed with the school they have been allocated, I would encourage them to research the school and speak to the head teacher before dismissing the offered place. They may be pleasantly surprised by what they see."

All applicants who have not been offered their first preference school will automatically be placed on the continuing interest list for any Hertfordshire schools named higher on the application form than the school offered.

Parents and carers are advised by the county council to accept the school place offered. Accepting the place will not impact upon the appeals or continuing interest processes.

Parents and carers have until March 15 to accept a school place for their child.