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National Offer Day: Fall in demand for primary places but parents still struggle to get children into school of their choice

Parents of children starting reception in September will be happier in Ealing and Hillingdon than those in Kensington and Chelsea

Some parents have found it easier than others to get their child into the primary school of their choice

The long wait is over for thousands of anxious parents as they learned which primary schools their children will be attending in September.

Parts of west London again struggled to offer first choices to children born between September 1 2012 and August 31 2013, but on the whole figures are an improvement on 2016 .

Hillingdon (88.7%) and Ealing (87.79%) local authorities were the only two in west London to score above the London-wide first preference average (85.95%).

Excluding City of London, Kensington and Chelsea scored lowest in the capital, with just 68.36 of children offered first preference. But this was up on the previous year’s figure.

Hammersmith and Fulham (76.7%) and Harrow (79.29%) also propped up the table.

Local Authority % first preference offer % second preference offer % third preference offer % fourth preference offer % fifth preference offer % sixth preference offer
Brent 83.82 9.27 2.39 1.02 0.5 0.11
Ealing 87.79 6.17 2.31 0.87 0.49 0.19
Hammersmith and Fulham 76.7 10.08 4.11 2.4 1.58 0.55
Harrow 79.29 9.39 4.26 1.18 0.8 0.35
Hillingdon 88.7 6.86 1.96 0.61 0.23 0.1
Hounslow 82.48 9.52 3.6 1.44 0.42 0.17
Kensington and Chelsea 68.36 11.3 4.97 3.39 1.58 1.02
Westminster 82.3 9.14 4.12 1.46 0.24 0.4
London total 85.95 7.36 2.41 1.02 0.49 0.25

Across London 97% of children due to start primary school in September were offered a place at one of their preferred schools.

Figures released by the Pan London Admissions Board on National Offer Day on Tuesday (April 18) show that the capital’s boroughs received 98,944 applications for primary school places this year, four per cent fewer than last year.

Nearly 86% of children got into their first choice primary school, and 96% got into one of their top three schools.

In Kensington and Chelsea, this year’s first preference intake is higher than the 68.1% figure in 2016.

The same can also be said for Hammersmith and Fulham, which scored 71.8% in 2016 first preference.

In Hounslow, figures released show that 98% of pupils in the borough starting reception class in September have been offered a place at one of their six preferred schools, with 83% getting their first choice.

Education chief Tom Bruce said: “The continuing demand for primary school places is at an all-time high and Hounslow’s schools are extremely popular due to the high standard of achievements for students of all abilities and backgrounds.

“All of London’s schools are facing huge challenges to meet the increased pressure on places and here in Hounslow, we are working very hard to ensure we can give our children the very best start in life by offering them the opportunity to get the education they deserve.”

Sara Williams, chairman of the Pan London Admissions Board, said: “It is great to see that 97% of applicants have got a place at one of their chosen primary schools, an increase on last year.

“The demand for primary school places in London remains high, having increased by five per cent since 2011.

“Overall there has been a slight fall in demand for reception places since last year but the pressure on London schools to deliver places for children across the capital due to start school this September remains.

“We will be keeping an eye on birth rates and patterns of population growth, but we expect demand for primary school places to continue at least at current levels and demand for secondary school places to grow considerably in the years ahead.”

The Good Schools Guide is advising parents disappointed with their child’s primary place to not to panic and to think carefully before appealing.

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