Thousands of London children miss out on top primary school choice

Almost a third of four-year-olds in parts of London have been turned away from their first-choice primary school, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Parents of just under 100,000 children who applied for a place find out tonight which primary their children will be starting at in September.

Overall, 13.5 per cent of children — nearly one in seven —  failed to land their chosen primary, and will start at a school that was not top of their list.

But in parts of the capital the success rate was much lower. In Kensington and Chelsea 68 per cent landed their top choice, meaning 32 per cent were disappointed — the worst result in London.

In Camden, Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham just 76 per cent of families were allocated their preferred schools. The figures highlight the huge pressure on places in  London.

Today’s results also reveal a postcode lottery, with virtually all (95 per cent) children in Barking and Dagenham landing their first choice. 

And in Haringey, Newham and Waltham Forest more than 90 per cent of children got their top choice. The Pan-London Admissions Board wrote to all parents today to tell them which school their child will attend.

Parents must list six in order of preference. Overall, 86.5 per cent of children were given their first preference, up 0.6 per cent on last year. But 2.4 per cent — 2,314 children — failed to get a place at any of their six chosen schools.

Of those, 27 have no offer, as there are no places within a reasonable distance of home. They will be offered a school because places become available when other children turn down their offers.

More than 96,000 children applied for a London primary place this year.

Sara Williams, chair of the Pan-London Admissions Board, said: “We are pleased that 97.6 per cent of applicants have gained a place at one of their chosen primary schools. — 94 per cent of the capital’s schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, this means that children here are very likely to be offered a place at a school that provides a high-quality education.”

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