Pan-London Admissions Board: London's performance on secondary school admissions

  • By London Councils

An additional two thousand London pupils have been offered a place at one of their preferred secondary schools this year compared to last year, according to figures released today by the Pan-London Admissions Board.

London boroughs received 84,140 applications, an increase of nearly four per cent from last year. This indicates the high demand for primary school places which London has experienced in recent years, has begun to push through to secondary schools. 

Ninety-four per cent of pupils in London - just under 79,000 pupils - have received a place at one of their six preferred schools this year, compared to just over 77,000 last year.

The figures also reveal that 88 per cent of London pupils starting secondary school in September have been offered a place at one of their top three schools, with 68 per cent getting their first preference school. 

Chair of the Pan London Admissions Board, Helen Jenner, said: “A high number of applications have been processed by the pan-London scheme this year. Despite this, the London-wide system of co-ordinating admissions has meant that more pupils have been offered a school place of their choice than last year.

“London's schools have long been recognised as the best in the country, with outcomes well above national levels, which means that parents are keen to secure a place for their children in the capital. However, demand for places is growing, as we are beginning to see the pressure on primary schools transfer to secondary. 

"London boroughs are working with schools to expand the number of places they can offer, but the higher cost of land and construction in the capital means this is often difficult and expensive.

“The pan-London admissions scheme distributes places in a fair and transparent way based on the eligibility criteria and number of places available at each school. However, it is important to recognise that not all parents and pupils can be offered their first preference, because there is simply not an unlimited number of places in London's schools.”

Pupils 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.

In London, the proximity of schools to good public transport means that there is more pupil movement across local authority boundaries than anywhere else in the country. Some boroughs might not be offering as many first preferences to the people living in their area as others, but they may well be meeting a high proportion of first preferences of pupils from neighbouring boroughs. Local authorities are prohibited from giving their own residents priority.


Notes to Editors:

The Pan London Admissions Board has overall responsibility for the co-ordination scheme. 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.

A 2014 poll, carried out by YouGov on behalf of London Councils, showed 77 per cent of parents said the system of applying was ‘easy’.

A number of factors have an impact on the statistics. As all schools listed on the form are considered equally, parents may decide to use their first preference to rank a school which their child is less likely to be offered and put their more realistic options lower down the list. 

For an explanation of how the scheme works and a breakdown of data showing how preferences were allocated across the capital, please see the document attached.