Your child’s first day at school should be something to look forward to, but unfortunately that will not be the case for some parents.

As more new homes are built, the competition for school places grows and there are not enough classroom places to meet the demand.

As a result, only 88 per cent of Oxfordshire parents have been given their first choice of primary school, leaving hundreds of families facing difficult decisions about which school their youngsters should attend.

Laura Fathers in Abingdon now faces a 40-minute walk from their home to a primary school on the other side of town.

She is weighing up her options and is likely to use the appeals system to get a better deal for her son.

If children can attend the school nearest their home, parents do not have to drive their children there and community spirit is boosted among families if they live in the same area.

But there is now such pressure on school catchment areas that there is no longer a guarantee that your child will get the desired place.

There is no quick fix to this problem.

New classrooms need to be added to provide more places as the population grows, and new schools will be needed too.