Dungannon grammars are the most sought after in North

As local parents face one of their toughest decisions - which school to send their children to - latest figures reveal that Dungannon’s grammar schools are among the most heavily oversubscribed in the North.

Competition for places is at its fiercest in local Catholic grammars with a total of 90 of the district’s 11-year-olds missing out on their first preference place.

St Joseph’s Grammar, Donaghmore, is the third most popular school in Northern Ireland, according to the figures released by the Department of Education at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Last year, the school, which has 95 places for first-years, was oversubscribed by 56 places. Only Lumen Christi College in Derry (70) and Friends’ School, Lisburn (72) had to turn away higher numbers of pupils.

St Patrick’s Academy was oversubscribed by 34 places in the 2013/14 academic year, while Dungannon’s Royal School was oversubscribed by 26 places.

The figures also reflect the decade long population boom in the district, which has swelled the number of children attending local schools, and suggest that while political leaders are heavily promoting integrated and controlled sector education, a Catholic education is more popular then ever.

Hundreds of Dungannon District children are due to receive the results of the entrance tests for grammar schools at the end of January.

While the number of children in the secondary school age group has fallen, the number going to grammar schools has risen.

More than 43% of children now attend a grammar school.

Parents who are unhappy with the test result can ask for a re-mark.