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Majority of London children get first choice on primaries

22/04/2013 Joanna
Most pupils in London have received a place at one of their preferred primary schools, according to new figures, although a substantial minority missed out.

Statistics published by the Pan-London Admissions Board revealed that 81 per cent of children starting primary school in September have obtained a place at their first choice of school, which was a three per cent increase from last year.

Moreover, of the 99,107 children that applied - down by 1,008 from 2012 - 92 per cent received a place at one of their three first preferences, while 96 per cent will be going to one of their six preferred primary schools.

By comparison, 4.9 per cent were not allocated any of the schools on their form, which the Pan-London Admissions Board said could be for a range of reasons, such as parents only listing one school, or the huge demand for places at certain popular schools.

The board added that parents whose children have not been offered a place at one of their preferred schools have been allocated an alternative, or else will be advised on their options by their local authority.

Its chair Helen Jenner commented: "It is important to emphasise that, however proficient the admission system is - and our arrangements in London are about as efficient and fair as it is possible to have - it cannot create extra places at schools which are already full."

She said councils in the capital were working hard to try to ensure they could find every child a school place, but that this task was complicated by the sheer level of demand.

There were substantial variations between boroughs, with over 89 per cent of pupils in Barking and Dagenham, the City of London and Newham securing a place at one of their preferred primary schools, compared to around 73 per cent for Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden and Wandsworth.

Analysis published last week by the board's parent body, London Councils, indicated that there will be a shortage of 78,923 primary school places between 2011/12 and 2015/16, which will subsequently feed into a growing dearth of secondary school places.

Last month, the government announced that it would invest £1.6 billion in creating new school places, with around a third of that pot apportioned to the capital, which could job opportunities for primary teachers there.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801574587-ADNFCR
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