MORE than half of Bury's primary schools are 'over capacity', according to new statistics.

Figures show that 50.8 per cent of primary schools across the borough are deemed to be oversubscribed, ahead of today's deadline for applications for next September.

A total of 32 primary schools are said to be over capacity, with a further two deemed to be operating at its full capacity.

The Bury figure is the highest across Greater Manchester, with 41.2 per cent deemed to be over capacity in Stockport, 22.9 per cent in Bolton and 17 per cent in Rochdale.

Bury Council said that the figures were a testament to the success of the borough's schools, with parents bidding for their children to gain school places in a Bury school.

Last year's league tables revealed that Bury's primary schools were performing in line with the national average, with 79 per cent of children achieving Level 4 in reading, writing and maths, which is seen as the educational benchmark.

In addition, 91 per cent of Bury's secondary schools being rated as "good" or "outstanding" by Ofsted, the top performing area across the North West.

The figures, which were obtained by Freedom of Information requests made by the Labour Party, also showed that 23.1 per cent of secondary schools were deemed 'over capacity'.

A Bury Council spokesman said: "There will always be popular and successful schools that are oversubscribed, but that in itself does not reflect a problem at local authority level, although recognising that, for parents, it may result in them not securing a place at the school of their choice.

"In Bury, however, 91 per cent of parents secure a place at their first preference primary school, and 96 per cent secure a place at one of their preferred schools. In 2014, all Bury residents who requested a place were offered a place."

The spokesman added that the figures did not show how much the schools were 'over capacity', which in some cases may have been by a small number of students.

He added: "The success of Bury’s schools often leads to oversubscription but at quite modest levels.

"Rather than simply looking at the number of schools that are oversubscribed, more relevant is the level by which they are oversubscribed.

"In the case of Bury, the majority of schools that are oversubscribed, are oversubscribed by single digit figures whereas in other local authorities the level of oversubscription may be double or even triple digit. It is the scale of oversubscription that matters, particularly if that scale is reflected in a number of schools in an area."

Headteachers have control of school admissions in primary schools, and are limited to having no more than 30 pupils in each class by law.

The spokesman continued: "While Bury has some localised hotspots of growth in demand, the overall level of growth in demand for places is significantly lower than in some of our neighbouring authorities. Indeed overall primary intakes are forecast to decrease from 2016 onwards."

He added: "Working with our schools, we manage the supply of school spaces well, putting in modest additional capacity where it is needed, and through the excellent work of our admissions tea, we serve parents well in securing a place in the school of their choice."