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Pan-London Admissions Scheme 2016 – background briefing

For the sixth year running, London’s admissions system has enabled more parents to be allocated a primary school of their preference by a fairer distribution of available offers.

2016 figures

  • For the sixth year running, London’s admissions system has enabled more parents to be allocated a primary school of their preference by a fairer distribution of available offers.
  • This year, 103,329 pupils applied for primary school places through the Pan-London Admissions Scheme, just 58 fewer pupils than last year, demonstrating that pressure on places remains strong.
  • 84 (83.59) per cent of pupils in London received an offer from their first preference school. Ninety-four (94.27) per cent of children got a place at one of their top three schools.
  • Overall, 97 (96.58) per cent were allocated a school of their preference. This means 99,795 applicants got a place at a school of their preference this year, compared to 99,059 last year.
  • 93 per cent of applications were made online this year – up by five per cent compared to last year.

Frequently asked questions

When was the pan-London Admissions scheme introduced?

Primary school places in London have been co-ordinated through the Pan-London Admissions scheme since 2011. The aims of the scheme are to simplify the application process for primary school admissions and ensure a fairer distribution of places available across London.

The Pan-London Admissions Board has overall responsibility for the management of the scheme. The board’s membership includes representatives from the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services, the London Inter Authority Admissions Group and the London Grid for Learning. The chair of the board is Helen Jenner.  

How does the scheme work?

In London, parents fill in a single application form even if they are applying to schools in more than one borough. They can put down up to six schools in order of preference and submit the form to the borough where they live

Their application is then considered under the equal preference system. This means that the admission authority of each school prioritises all the preferences in the order set out in its published admission criteria, without reference to the preference order listed by parents.

If more than one school can offer the place, the local authority will offer whichever one of those schools was listed highest by the parent

Every time a multiple offer is eliminated an offer can be made to another pupil who would otherwise have received a less satisfactory offer or no offer at all

Applications for a primary school reception place closed on the 15 January 2016 in order for a child to start reception in September 2016.  Parents are strongly encouraged to apply online but a paper form is available for those who cannot do so

Prior to 2011, parents had to fill out separate application forms for each local authority which handled admissions for their preferred schools. Neither the offers, nor the dates on which the offers were made, were co-ordinated between authorities.

How do parents find out which school they have been offered?

National Primary Offer Day is on Monday 18 April, when parents in England will be informed of their child’s primary school place offer. Parents in London will be notified of their offer from 5pm that day, according to the method they chose during the application process: either email, text or through the ParentComms:mobile app. Parents are advised to wait until they receive their notification before logging on to the Pan-London eAdmissions website.

All parents will also receive information with full details of the outcome of their application, and what to do next. Letters will be posted by first class mail on 18 April and parents should receive them the next day (April 19).

Parents are advised to wait until they receive this information before logging onto the Pan-London eAdmissions website to respond to their outcome.

Why do some boroughs offer more pupils their first choice than other boroughs?

London is unique in that nowhere else in the country has such a large volume of applications to so many schools. The capital’s dense population means there is always a lot of movement across local authority boundaries. This is reflected in the statistics, which show that 55,074 primary aged pupils attend a school in a London borough that is different from the borough where they live.  While some boroughs might not be offering as many first preferences to their residents as other authorities do, they may well be meeting a high proportion of first preferences for pupils from neighbouring boroughs.

For example, a school located near the border of two boroughs, which uses geographical distance from home to school as one of the criteria for its admissions policy, may take more pupils from a neighbouring borough than from its own borough. Boroughs within travelling distance of a number of very popular selective schools or denominational schools will have a lower percentage of resident pupils receiving their first preference because of the higher level of competition for places at those schools.

It’s been widely reported that London is addressing a significant rise in demand for primary school places – what is the situation?

London Councils’ Do the Maths report provides in-depth analysis of London’s primary and secondary school places challenge.

Key points are:

  • London has a higher increase in pupil numbers at all school ages with forecasts showing a pupil growth rate that is twice that of any other region.
  • London Councils estimated that between 2015/16 and 2019/20 the capital will need 113,000 new school places – 78,245 primary places and 34,836 secondary places.
  • London boroughs have had to meet 41 per cent of the total cost of delivering new school places between 2010 to 2015 from their own resources – equivalent to £1 billion – due to government funding not being sufficient for London.
  • Between 2015/16 and 2019/20 London requires an additional £1.5 billion of basic need funding, on top of existing basic need allocations to provide sufficient school places.
  • Existing spare capacity in many primary schools has already been used to meet demand. It will become increasingly difficult to create new places without sufficient funding as building projects become more complex and expensive to complete in London.
  • The average capital cost of a place for a child with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) in London is over £70,000 – three times that of an average secondary place.

What can be done to increase the number of places available?

London Councils is calling on government to allocate sufficient funding to local authorities to fully meet identified need through basic need allocations.

In order to do this the Department for Education would need to:

  • Recognise the unique challenges and higher costs faced in the capital and fund the full cost of creating new school places in London.
  • Commit to increasing funding rates to create new school places in London to ensure they are aligned to the actual costs of providing school places in London.
  • Ensure that any new schools are prioritised in areas of need for school places

What happens next?

Parents who have not been allocated a place at one of their chosen schools have either been offered an alternative or will shortly be advised of their options.

Unsuccessful applicants can be placed on a waiting list in the order of the school’s oversubscription criteria. Places will be filled from the list as vacancies arise over the coming weeks.

Parents who are dissatisfied with the outcome may appeal to an independent panel.

What's the situation nationally - can you tell me who I should be speaking to?

The DfE normally publish the figures of all local authorities several weeks after National Offer Day.

In London, the Pan-London Admissions Scheme co-ordinates the allocation of primary school places, but enquiries on individual local authority allocations should be made to individual boroughs.

For results outside of London, journalists will have to contact the relevant local authority.

Borough by borough breakdown








LA % First preference offers % Second preference offers % Third preference offers % Fourth preference offers % Fifth preference offers % Sixth preference offers
Barking & Dagenham  89.80% 5.02% 1.68% 0.69% 0.24% 0.16%
Barnet  78.84% 9.24% 3.75% 1.73% 0.88% 0.57%
Bexley  88.15% 6.55% 2.00% 0.77% 0.32% 0.19%
Brent  81.30% 9.01% 3.42% 1.25% 0.51% 0.23%
Bromley  82.48% 8.37% 3.54% 1.39% 0.89% 0.37%
Camden  80.53% 7.75% 3.96% 2.01% 0.77% 0.36%
City of London  82.86% 14.29% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Croydon  84.98% 8.74% 2.47% 1.02% 0.44% 0.26%
Ealing  85.66% 6.79% 3.05% 1.26% 0.39% 0.30%
Enfield  87.56% 6.34% 2.37% 0.82% 0.35% 0.13%
Greenwich  81.39% 7.13% 2.65% 1.46% 0.73% 0.35%
Hackney  84.61% 7.84% 2.81% 0.85% 0.33% 0.44%
Hammersmith and Fulham 71.80% 11.67% 6.03% 2.89% 1.44% 1.11%
Haringey  87.17% 6.73% 2.22% 0.88% 0.67% 0.25%
Harrow 79.97% 9.04% 4.16% 1.73% 0.82% 0.41%
Havering 87.71% 6.21% 2.39% 1.24% 0.35% 0.03%
Hillingdon  85.64% 7.57% 2.42% 1.54% 0.54% 0.27%
Hounslow  80.63% 9.88% 3.85% 1.79% 0.69% 0.44%
Islington  80.49% 9.49% 3.29% 1.69% 0.73% 0.39%
Kensington and Chelsea  68.21% 11.55% 4.88% 3.33% 1.55% 0.36%
Kingston upon Thames  83.04% 6.28% 2.94% 1.15% 0.75% 0.50%
Lambeth  83.86% 8.02% 2.73% 1.79% 0.77% 0.40%
Lewisham 80.43% 8.81% 3.59% 1.46% 0.73% 0.52%
Merton 80.40% 6.95% 2.78% 2.01% 0.91% 0.62%
Newham  88.94% 6.05% 1.62% 0.64% 0.10% 0.08%
Redbridge  83.93% 7.39% 2.56% 1.50% 0.80% 0.31%
Richmond upon Thames 82.51% 6.51% 3.85% 1.57% 0.83% 0.50%
Southwark  85.05% 8.39% 2.81% 1.03% 0.33% 0.33%
Sutton  83.18% 8.26% 2.25% 1.33% 0.41% 0.44%
Tower Hamlets  87.18% 7.15% 2.09% 1.05% 0.23% 0.06%
Waltham Forest 85.39% 7.12% 2.64% 0.92% 0.42% 0.47%
Wandsworth  76.96% 7.67% 5.17% 2.69% 1.64% 0.93%
Westminster  82.28% 8.90% 3.73% 1.52% 0.23% 0.23%
Total 83.59% 7.72% 2.96% 1.36% 0.60% 0.35%