Almost three thousand additional 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.
Demand for secondary school places has increased by more than three per cent this year alone. This increase highlights the emerging pressure London is facing as London’s primary growth begins to work its way through to secondary schools.
89 per cent of London pupils starting secondary school in September have been offered a place at one of their top three choices, with 69 per cent getting their first preference school.
94 per cent of pupils in London – more than 81,000 pupils - have received a place at one of their six preferred schools this year, the same percentage as last year.
Chair of the Pan London Admissions Board, Helen Jenner, said: “Demand for secondary school places in the capital is on the rise as the primary pressure works its way through the system. Local authorities have worked hard to put in place plans to meet this increased demand so that more pupils are offered a school place of their choice in London.
“Today’s figures show that despite the rise in the number of applications, preference rates have not dropped. In fact the percentage of pupils that received their first preference place increased slightly.
“Excellent school leadership across London has meant its schools have been the best in the country since 2008, with outcomes well above the national levels. Parents are keen to secure a school place in London and have a wider choice of good schools available to them than elsewhere.
“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. It is important to recognise that not all parents and pupils can be offered their first preference, because there are simply not an unlimited number of places at each school. However, there are sufficient places in London schools to meet overall demand.”
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 2015 poll, carried out by YouGov on behalf of London Councils, showed 79 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.
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, with 20 per cent of secondary school pupils in the capital crossing a council boundary to attend school.
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.
For an explanation of how the scheme works and a breakdown of data showing how preferences were allocated across the capital, please see the FAQ document