Third Of Pupils Miss First School Preference

Stressful times as many are not offered places in preferred schools

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A third of families in London did not get their first choice secondary school according to figures from the Pan London Admissions Board (PLAB).

Only 65% of children were offered places at their preferred school.

The statistics were published this week after places were offered electronically on Tuesday and by post on Wednesday 2nd March.

87% were offered a place at one of their top three schools with 93% receiving a place at one of their six preferred schools. Parents who have not been allocated a place at one of their chosen schools have either been offered an alternative or will shortly be advised of their options.

Due to the proximity of schools and good public transport links, there is always more movement between London local authority boundaries than anywhere else in the country. So while some boroughs might not be offering as many first preferences to their residents as other authorities do, they may well be meeting a high proportion of first preferences for pupils from neighbouring boroughs. Local authorities are prohibited from giving their own residents priority for places in their schools.

Chair of the Pan London Admissions Board, Chris Kiernan, said: “For the seventh year running, London’s co-ordinated admissions system has been very successful in enabling more parents to be allocated a school of their preference by a fairer distribution of available offers. More than 93 per cent of pupils have an offer from a school of their preference and 65 per cent have been offered a place at their first choice school.

“It is important to emphasise that, however proficient the admission system is – and our arrangements in London are about as efficient and fair as it is possible to have – it cannot create additional places at the most popular schools.”

March 3, 2011