PARENTS of youngsters in Hartlepool who will move up from primary to secondary school next autumn are being reminded that time has almost run out for them to make a very important decision.

Friday is the last day for them to complete and return the preference form, giving their preferred choices of the secondary school they would like their child to attend.

More than 1,000 preference forms were sent out to parents in the Hartlepool area, but about 200 have still not been completed and sent back to Hartlepool Borough Council's education department.

Nick Flight, the council's assistant director of education said: "It's really important for parents of year six children to complete and return the preference form.

"Children have the best chance of getting a place at a popular school if they live in the school's admission zone - but parents must fill in and return the preference form.

"Parents should also bear in mind that attendance at a partner or feeder primary school does not guarantee a place in a particular secondary school."

Parents can give their choice of up to three schools on the form, but they are reminded to think very carefully about the order in which they give their preferences - the first preference will always be considered first.