Criticism has been levelled at Bucks County Council following the revelation that a quarter of children failed to get into their first choice secondary school.

Wycombe Labour group said that the local authority has made a “shambles” of allocating school places to the county’s children following letters sent to parents last week.

However, Mike Appleyard, cabinet member for education and skills at the county council, said that allocation to schools is an ongoing process and that many of those children given schools far away from their homes will have places at more local schools come September.

David Williams, the Wycombe Labour’s parliamentary candidate, said: “Once again, children in Bucks suffer from the policies of the coalition Government and the woeful performance of BCC.

“The Tory-led Government has stripped local authorities of the power to require academies to provide places where and when they are needed, and yet it has left local authorities with the responsibility of providing places for children in the locality. This is madness.

“The Tory-led Government has also stripped local authorities of the resources needed to expand places and at the same time it has provided 30,000 places in free schools, many where there is no demand. This is madness.

“On top of this, Tory-led BCC insists on retaining the 11Plus - a grossly unfair test- and the Bucks grammar schools now attract pupils from all over the South East; nearly 50 per cent of the grammar school places in Bucks are now taken by pupils from outside Bucks. This is madness.

“And finally because a lot of the pupils from out of Bucks who were successful at the 11Plus decided in the end to turn down grammar school places, we have nearly 100 empty places in the grammar schools. This is madness.

“If there is one thing we can estimate relatively accurately and years in advance, it is how many children in Bucks need a place in a secondary school and where.

“And yet this Government, and BCC, have managed to make a shambles of it yet again. And the pity of it is that hundreds of children and their parents were disappointed [on Monday] and many will have now to travel long distances to school.”

Mr Appleyard said: “It’s disappointing that Wycombe Labour yet again fail to get the basic facts right.

“Regarding selection, we are required by government to make an allocation for every single child at the beginning of March each year.

“But, allocation to schools is a continual process and by September, most of the children allocated to schools further from their homes will have places at a more local school.

“While the early raw data showed one in four appeared not to get their first choice, 86 per cent have currently been offered their highest preference school for which they qualified.

“Due to higher numbers this year, this is an increase in real terms getting their first preference school compared to last year.”