Revealed, the real impact of immigration: Barely HALF of children in some parts of London get their first choice of secondary school

In London, one in three pupils did not secure a place at favourite school
Worst hit is Hammersmith and Fulham where only 52% got their first choice
Government figures show 87,000 students missed out on favourite school
Councils must find a place for every child but are battling a baby boom
One in three pupils in London failed to secure a place at their first-choice secondary school this year as councils grapple with demand for places as a result of the capital’s baby boom.

Barely half of the 11-year-olds in some of London’s boroughs managed to clinch a spot at their favourite school, exposing a postcode lottery which is hitting London’s children the hardest.

The area with the worst record across the entire country is Hammersmith and Fulham, in west London, where just 600 students (52 per cent) secured a place at their first-choice school.

Also at the bottom of the pile was Westminster – where only 635 (53.4 per cent) students got their top spot – and Lambeth, where only 1,481 (57.9 per cent) pupils were lucky.

The concerning figures also reveal that 17,500 pupils in the capital – more than a fifth – will be forced to travel outside of their home borough just to attend school.

The national places crisis is reflected in figures from across the country, where around one in six children missed out on a place at their first choice of secondary school.

Figures from the Department for Education show more than 87,000 students (15.9 per cent) missed out on their favourite school, while more than 27,000 (five per cent) of 11-year-olds did not even manage to secure a place in one of their preferred three.

Of those who applied, 19,700 (3.5 per cent) did not receive an offer from any of their top six.
By law, councils must find a place for every child by September, but officials are battling with a bulge in the secondary school population caused by a baby boom fuelled by migration.

This means students will either be crammed into super-size year groups or sent to less popular schools far away from their homes.
Those who were not allocated one of their top schools – which can include academies – will be assigned to another one or will be given a list of schools with available places to chose from.

Today’s statistics paint a worrying picture of the growing battle for school places, with the number of students rejected from their first-choice school increasing year-on-year.

The problem is only expected to intensify because more schools are becoming academies, which are free from local authority control.
The spike in the birth rate has already been putting pressure on the primary sector, but is now beginning to take its toll on secondary schools.

In 2013, 66,495 pupils did not secure a place at the top school, with that figure increasing to 77,148 in 2014. The following year, it increased again to 84,263, before surging again this year.

In total, there were 548,006 applications for a secondary school place this year – an increase of 2.8 per cent from 2015 and the highest number on record since 2008.

Barely half of the 11-year-olds in some of London's boroughs managed to clinch a spot at their favourite school, exposing a postcode lottery which is hitting London children the hardest (file picture) 
Barely half of the 11-year-olds in some of London’s boroughs managed to clinch a spot at their favourite school, exposing a postcode lottery which is hitting London children the hardest (file picture)

But the problem remains most acute in London, where 59,644 (68.8 per cent) of the 86,600 applicants secured a place in their first-choice school.

In total, 17,500 pupils in London (20.2 per cent) were offered schools in another local authority to where the child lives, compared with 8.6 per cent across the rest of the country.

In previous years, children in London have been forced to commute for more than two hours every day to schools in other parts of the city – a problem likely to recur this year.

Last year, a report by London Councils put this down to the number of children aged five to 19 having increased by 112,000 between 2010 and 2015.

The report forecast that the school-age population would rise by another 12 per cent over the next five years – nearly twice the rate for the rest of England.

At the bottom of the pile across the entire country was Hammersmith & Fulham (pictured) where more than 600 children (48 per cent) missed out on their first choice school
At the bottom of the pile across the entire country was Hammersmith & Fulham (pictured) where more than 600 children (48 per cent) missed out on their first choice school

Northumberland 98.7%

Central Bedfordshire 98.6%

Cornwall 98.4%

Devon 96.9%

East Riding of Yorkshire 96.8%

Rotherham 96.3%

North Tyneside 96%

Wilshire 95.8%

Derbyshire 95.7%

Leicestershire 95.7%

Hammersmith and Fulham 52%

Westminster 53.4%

Lambeth 57.9%

Wandsworth 58.4%

Kensington and Chelsea 58.6%

Southwark 59%

Lewisham 59.6%

Brent 63.5%

Hounslow 64%

Greenwich 64.6%


By 2020, there are expected to be 146,000 more five to 19-year-olds in London than there were last year.

In Hammersmith and Fulham, where the local authority is at breaking point, the latest census shows a 10.4 per cent increase between 2001 and 2011, including a 17 per cent hike in those aged between 0-4.

Nearly a quarter of those living in the borough said they arrived in the UK between 2001 and 2011, while the number of those born abroad rose from 33.6 per cent to 42.8 per cent.

Oppositely, in Northumberland, where children are mostly likely to get a place at their first-choice school, the population only rose by 2.9 per cent between 2001 to 2011.

The majority of that population increase was in those aged over 65, while the number of those born abroad stayed at around 8 per cent.

Councillor Roy Perry, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said changes needed to be made so councils have the power to compel academies to expand.

He said: ‘More than 800,000 extra places are needed by 2024, and while councils have a statutory duty to ensure every child has a school place available to them, they find themselves in the difficult position of not being able to ensure schools, including academies, expand.

‘Finding suitable sponsors with the capacity to take on the running of a successful new school is also proving a challenge.

‘Councils are therefore calling for powers to either compel academies to expand to provide enough places, or to create new schools if they are unable to secure high quality free school sponsors in their communities.’

The government says it invested £5bn during the last parliament to help create half a million new school places, with a further £7bn set aside to create more places over the next six years.

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Delivering good quality school places is a top priority for this Government and today’s figures show that the system continues to work.

Families who do not win a place at their favoured school can appeal to the admission authority for the school – usually the school itself or the council.

A hearing will then be heard by a three-person independent panel. The appeals panel must decide if the school’s admission criteria was properly followed and are legal. The panel must then decide if they were followed fairly and thoroughly.

If they were not followed accordingly, the parent’s appeal will be upheld.

If they were followed accordingly, the parent is expected to present reasons as to why their child should go to that school.

Parents must appeal against each rejection separately and decisions will be given within five days of the hearing.

The admission authority for the school must give parents at least 10 school days’ notice of the hearing.

Appeals must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for making an appeal.

Parents should also put their child’s name on the waiting list for their preferred school.

‘The vast majority of pupils were offered a place at their first choice school and more than 95 per cent received offers from one of their top three choices.

‘Our reforms and our academy programme are raising standards for all children, with 1.4 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

‘We will continue to invest and work hard to ensure every child has an excellent education that allows them to reach their full potential.’

The best-performing authority for the second-year running was Northumberland, where 98.7 per cent of student secured a spot in their first-choice school.

This was closely followed by Central Bedfordshire and Cornwall where 98.6 per cent and 98.4 per cent respectively will attend their preferred school.

The South West was the region with the highest proportion of first choice offers at 91.9 per cent, followed by the North East at 91.8 per cent.

The latest Department for Education statistics also show that 88.4 per cent of youngsters seeking primary school places were offered their first choice, up from 87.8 per cent last year.

This means that almost one in eight did not receive their top preference.

Today, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said the Government’s ‘free market approach’ to providing new school places ‘just isn’t working’.

‘Children are being crammed into ever larger class sizes and many primary and secondary schools are at or over capacity,’ she said.

‘The provision of new places needs proper planning and co-ordination. Yet this Government’s fixation with free schools, which can be opened where there is no shortage of school places, has made it harder and harder to ensure there are enough good school places in every local area.’

She also added that, while there were ‘legitimate concerns’ about the impact of migration on the system, it was only five per cent of new places that were needed for children of EU migrants.

‘This should have been better managed by Tory education ministers without a doubt, but the vast majority of pressure on the school places system is coming from a rising UK birthrate.

‘It is time for ministers to give local areas adequate powers to plan for new places and remove the bureaucracy that councils face when it comes to opening and expanding schools.’

Families who do not win a place at their favoured school can appeal, and one admissions expert said more are now willing to take that step, and get legal help to do so.
Matt Richards, of legal advice firm, said: ‘A few years ago out of 10 phone calls to us, maybe two would pay for some help. Now it’s more like 50 per cent.

‘People are much more switched on in terms of their legal rights and in terms of not wanting to do it on their own and asking for help.’
Last year, there were 54,600 appeals against school allocations – 3.7 per cent of the total number of admissions to state schools.

Just over a fifth of the appeals actually heard by a panel were decided in favour of the parents.
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Comments (608)
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ZeitGeist, Going, Tuvalu, 3 minutes ago

You’ll be blaming the bad weather on immigration next. Propaganda at its finest.

ReplyNew144Click to rate

Silent Earth, Durham, United Kingdom, 3 minutes ago

WHEN the OUT campaign WINS and we LEAVE THE EU, we must then get rid of all of the traitorous REMAIN MPs whose attempted betrayal of Britain is a stain on British democracy, they must be forced to RESIGN.

ReplyNew010Click to rate

Mistymoon, Maidstone, 9 minutes ago

This has little to do with immigration and everything to do with middle class parents wanting the “best” school for their children. All children should go to their local school. If parents don’t like it they can go private.

ReplyNew2616Click to rate

signup, Houston, United States, 12 minutes ago

According to Emma Thompson, who is a famous British celebrity, little Britain is merely a cake filled, misery-laden trashbin island……….immigrants are little Britain’s saviors.

ReplyNew2018Click to rate
2 of 3 repliesSee all replies

wmass, Manchester, United Kingdom, 7 minutes ago

According to facts I’ve read Yanks are big fat loudmouth gun toting greedy, thick and arrogant and you lot could do with some immigrants.

13Click to rate

heather47, caistor, United Kingdom, about a minute ago

Emma Thompson is an over priveleged luvvie, who is always pontificating about something or orher! Boring boring, with her it is do as I say and I will do whatever I like!

01Click to rate

Tigereyesxx, London, United Kingdom, 13 minutes ago

Sadiq Khan will sort it out (Not)

ReplyNew626Click to rate

Total cynic ., Lincoln, United Kingdom, 15 minutes ago

well only the very rich or the lowlife immigrants live there so who cares/

ReplyNew1622Click to rate

petr.nkosi, London, United Kingdom, 15 minutes ago

Welcome to the real world

ReplyNew420Click to rate

Total cynic ., Lincoln, United Kingdom, 16 minutes ago

glad i dont live near that cespitt now

ReplyNew634Click to rate

Bemused, Bedford, 15 minutes ago

Me too. I used to love visiting our capital city before Blair but not any longer.

211Click to rate

wmass, Manchester, United Kingdom, 17 minutes ago

Let’s get back to normality this should not have got like this.

ReplyNew624Click to rate

Heidraba, Darkest Peru, United Kingdom, 17 minutes ago

Where is the EVIDENCE that migrants have anything to do with anything? Lies and spin and propaganda from DM, again!

ReplyNew6020Click to rate
2 of 3 repliesSee all replies

wmass, Manchester, United Kingdom, 13 minutes ago

Bemused… You mean is.

05Click to rate

patgard36, london, United Kingdom, 11 minutes ago

Come live where i am in easy london you’ll change your mind quick enough.

011Click to rate
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