Parents across South West London worried as competition for school places hits all time high


Up to 13 children competed for one place at some of the best schools in the capital.

By Laura Mitchell

Parents across South West London are anxiously waiting to find out if their children have got a place at their preferred secondary school.

With up to 13 children competing for each place at some of the best schools in the capital, it is expected that tens of thousands will miss out on their chosen schools, with around 20,000 of these not even getting into one of their top three.

This year around 1,600 sat the entrance test for Sutton Grammar School for Boys, with West London Free School receiving 1,178 applicants for 120 places.

In 2012, 46.5% of children in Wandsworth did not get their first choice of school and this year figures are expected to rise even further.

Janette Wallis, of the Good Schools Guide, said: “Competition for places at the most popular state schools is at fever pitch.”

It is believed the higher demand for grammar schools and top state schools this year is due to the economic recession, which is forcing many parents away from the private sector.

Ms Wallis added: “Increasing numbers of parents who would in rosier times have sent their children private are now joining the throngs.”

Competition is so fierce that parents feel they are forced to put extra pressure on their children to pass their 11 plus, to ensure they get a place at a good grammar school.

Some families are even cancelling their summer holidays so their children can revise for September’s exams.

It is expected that many parents will lodge official appeals if their children are rejected from their favoured schools.

London councils estimate around 90,000 more school places are needed to meet the rising demand.

The Department for Education are trying to resolve the shortage of spaces available in London schools.

“Every parent should have the choice of a good school for their children,” a spokesman said.

“We are allowing under-performing schools to turn around by allowing outstanding sponsors to lead them and we are allowing good schools to expand and offer more places.”

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