More children across South West London get first choice primary school place


Parents found out which primary school their child had been allocated last week.

By Seema Hakim

The anxious wait was finally over for many South West London parents last week as they found out whether their children had been allocated their first choice primary school.

In Lambeth, more children were allocated their first choice place than last year, according to council figures.

80% got their first choice school, while nine out of ten received places in their first or second choice, accumulating to an increase of almost 4 percent on last year.

“This is great news for families who’ve been waiting to hear where their children will be going in September,” said Cllr Rachel Heywood, the cabinet member for Children and Families.

“What’s also really good to know is that Lambeth has made offers to every child whose application for a school place was on time.”

Lambeth children are also more likely to attend a good or outstanding primary school than pupils in most other parts of the country according to an Ofsted report.

Parents in Merton were also celebrating as it was revealed it is in the top three south London boroughs for offering parents their first choice of primary school.

Figures reveal the borough is providing 81.4% of parents their first choice, in comparison with Wandsworth (73.06%), Croydon (77.95%) and Kingston-upon-Thames (78.61%). 2636 children have been provided a place in Merton’s schools, ready to start in September 2013.

Merton Council cabinet member for education, Councillor Martin Whelton, said that demand for primary school places shows no sign of let up.

“The expansion programme has enabled 540 extra places to be offered this year compared to 2007,” he said.  

“We have been able to offer over 80% their first choice in primary school as we are determined to offer excellent education to our children at schools local to where they live.”

Despite the positive figures, many schools across South West London are struggling to cope with the demand for places.

Across Lambeth, millions of pounds is being invested in expansion and improvement to ease the overcrowding, and many schools across Hammersmith & Fulham have added extra classes. Burlington Danes Academy in Wood Lane is looking to open a new two-from entry primary school in 2014 on or next to its existing secondary school in Wood Lane.

Statistics released by Pan-London Admissions board last week showed that 94 per cent of London pupils receive a place at one of their six preferred primary schools.

Chair of the board, Helen Jenner, said: “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.”

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