South West London children less likely to secure first choice primary schools


A report revealed that five out of six South West London boroughs are below the city average of 78.72% for getting a child into a first choice school.


By Helen Wright

A significant number of South West London’s children are missing out on their first choice primary school, according to a recently published report.

The report revealed that most South West London boroughs – five out of six – are below the city average of 78.72% for getting a child into a first choice school.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond and Kingston all fall just below this figure but Kensington & Chelsea and Wandsworth had the lowest results in London, scoring 64.90% and 69.37% respectively.

Out of the six South West London boroughs, only Merton surpassed the average with 80.56% of children gaining a place at their first choice of school.

These figures were released by the Pan-London Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme, who have dealt with primary school admissions for the last two years.

This year 100,000 children applied for primary school places.

Oversubscription and too few schools are being blamed for the results – 200 new classrooms are being built across London to help deal with the problem.

Some parents only put down a first choice, leaving themselves with no back up if their preferred school is unavailable.

When Pan-London took over the admissions scheme two years ago, they simplified the admissions process by having parents apply with their choices directly to them, rather than to the schools. 

When applying for primary schools parents are urged to put down up to six options.

If a parent’s first option is already full, they are offered their second choice, then the third and so on.

Due to this system Pan-London say that 90% of children and parents were offered their first, second or third choice.

Chair of the Pan-London Admissions Board, Helen Jenner said: “Co-ordinating school admissions in London has meant a fairer distribution of available offers and has resulted in more parents getting an offer from one of their preferred schools earlier.

“It is important to emphasise that although the system is very efficient, it cannot create places at schools which are already full and not all parents can be offered their first preference.

“London local authorities are working hard to try to ensure that they can offer every child a school place but with this surge in demand it is becoming increasingly difficult.” 

The boroughs with the highest percentage of children getting their first choice were: Tower Hamlets (86.01%), Barking and Dagenham (85.36%) and Newham (84.91%). 

To view the report please visit:

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