• Press release

National Secondary Offer Day in London 2024: 94% get preferred school place

94% of children due to start secondary school in London this September have been offered a place at one of their preferred schools, data published on National Secondary Offer Day 2024 by the Pan London Admissions Board reveals.

Over 70% (70.5%) of children applying to London schools got into their first preference school, an increase of 0.79 percentage points from last year, equivalent to 63,757 children. 90% of London pupils – 81,324 children - were offered a place at one of their top three preferences of secondary school.

The total number of applications made for secondary school places in London this year was 90,348, a decrease of 2.48% compared to last year.

Application numbers are affected by a number of reasons, including the falling birth rate across London. A recent report by London Councils predicted a drop in demand of 4.3% for secondary school places over the next four years. The decrease for pupils entering Year 7 translates to 4,040 places, roughly equivalent to 134 classes.

As a result of the reduction in school places having an impact on the amount of funding a school receives, schools will have to make further difficult decisions to balance their budgets. This could mean narrowing the curriculum, offering fewer after school clubs or reducing the number of teaching and support staff. In some cases, school leaders and local authority leaders will have to make difficult decisions to merge or close schools.

Other important factors impacting application numbers include migration, such as families moving due to changes in their circumstances and working patterns, along with the localised effect of the UK leaving the EU in some areas.

The Pan London Admissions Scheme ensures that parents receive a school place offer for their child at the school which is highest in their list of preferences for which they are eligible under the admissions criteria. In London, offers will be sent out by email during the evening of Friday 1 March 2024.

Cllr Ian Edwards, London Councils’ Executive Member for Children and Young People, said:

“It is positive that once again the overwhelming majority of London’s children have an offer from one of their preferred schools. London is the best performing region at GCSE level with 90% of schools rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, which means local families can be confident that their child will receive an excellent education. 

“Boroughs have worked diligently with schools to ensure there are sufficient places to meet the demand for school places across the capital, particularly in the context of falling school rolls and the impact this is having on some schools.

“London’s population has always ebbed and flowed, so it is likely that the birth rate will pick up in due course. However, it is difficult to predict when and if this will happen, so local authorities will have to work closely with communities, schools and other local services in the meantime to ensure that we don’t lose vital assets, such as schools, now that we may need in the future.

“We remain keen to work with Government to respond to pressures surrounding secondary school places, ensuring that that all London pupils have the best start in life.” 

Jon Abbey, Chair of the Pan-London Admissions Board, said: 

“The Pan-London Admissions Scheme ensures that school places are distributed by local authorities in an open and fair way, taking into account the number of places available and eligibility criteria at each school. Where parents and pupils have not been offered their first preference, it is because in some schools the demand for places outstrips supply.

“We can reassure parents that there are sufficient places in London’s secondary schools to meet overall demand. The scheme ensures that parents receive a school place offer at the school which is highest in their list of preferences for which they are eligible under the admissions criteria.

“With the density of the population in London, it is a huge task for the Admissions team to take into account both the number of places available at each school and the eligibility criteria to ensure the best outcome for London’s children. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their work in ensuring the process of allocating school places to London’s children continues to go smoothly.

“We would advise parents to read the details of their child’s offer carefully and consider their options fully before making a decision. Please be aware that each London borough has an admissions team and staff are very happy to help if parents have any queries.”

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

1) The Pan London Admissions Scheme ensures that parents receive a school place offer for their child at the school which is highest in their list of preferences for which they are eligible under the admissions criteria. In London, offers will be sent out by email during the evening of Friday 1 March 2024.

2) The Pan London Admissions Board has overall responsibility for the school application co-ordination scheme in the capital. Membership includes representatives of the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services, the London Inter Authority Admissions Group and the London Grid for Learning.

3) Information on London Councils’ report on the drop in demand for school places

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