This is a statutory return from local authorities giving figures for the number of applications they receive for a place in secondary school, and how many of the offers made were of a preferred school broken down into first preference, second preference, any preferred school etc. The LA includes all applicants resident in their area even if they are requesting, or receive an offer to, schools in another LA.
The main entry year into secondary schooling is covered - for most Local Authorities this is a national curriculum year 7, but some Local Authorities with middle schools report on a different year generally 8 or 9. The data are collected on national offer day - 1st March or the next working day - relating to applications for entry into the next academic year.
Note this dataset is currently only collected at secondary level. In 2014, however, there will be the first national offer day for entry into primary school 16 April 2014 and the intention is to gather data at primary level as well. The regulations to allow this are currently 21 August 2013 in the final stages of drafting before being laid before parliament.