93% of children due to start secondary school in London this September have been offered a place at one of their preferred schools, data published on National Secondary Offer Day 2021 by the Pan London Admissions Board reveals.
87% of London pupils – 81,522 children – were offered a place at one of their top three preferences of secondary school, a 1% decrease from last year,
66% of children applying to London schools got into their first preference school, 2% fewer than last year, equivalent to 62,453 children. This decrease is caused partly by delays to selective school tests due to disruption caused by the impact of Covid-19 in the autumn term. Usually families are informed of their child’s test score for a selective school before the admissions deadline and can take this into account in making their application. However, this year many selective schools could not confirm places until after the deadline.
The total number of applications made for secondary school places in London this year was 93,727. This figure has remained stable compared to last year, seeing an 0.4% increase.
Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, London Councils’ Executive member for Schools & Children’s Services, said:
“Today’s admission figures show that the number of secondary school applications in London have remained stable compared to last year, suggesting that the vast majority of families have been able to apply for their child’s school place despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is also great to see that the overwhelming majority of children have an offer from one of their preferred schools. London is the best-performing region at GCSE level with 93% of schools rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, which means local families can be confident that their child will receive a top-quality education. Many schools and local authorities have gone above and beyond, creating virtual tours for prospective pupils to look around their potential new school and providing information for parents online.
“However, we recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays to some selective school tests and this will have contributed to the slight decrease in overall preference figures. London boroughs are working with local schools to respond to demand across the capital for school places and will continue to work diligently with teachers to ensure pupils have the emotional and social support they need to transition to secondary education as smoothly as possible.”
Gail Tolley, Chair of the Pan-London Admissions Board, said:
“The Pan-London Admissions Scheme ensures that school places are distributed by local authorities in a transparent and impartial way, taking into account the number of places available at each school and eligibility criteria.
“There are sufficient places in London schools to meet overall demand and the scheme ensures that parents receive an offer for the school which is highest in their list of preferences for which they are eligible under the admissions criteria.
“I would like to thank borough Admissions teams for their work this year. Despite the impact of the pandemic, they have ensured the process of allocating school places to London’s children has gone smoothly.
“We advise parents to read the details of their child’s offer carefully and consider their options fully before making a decision. Each London borough has an admissions team and staff are happy to help if they have any queries.”
The Pan London Admissions Scheme ensures that parents receive a school place offer for their child at the school which is highest in their list of preferences for which they are eligible under the admissions criteria. In London, offers will be sent out by email and or text during the evening of Monday 1 March 2021.