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One-third of London pupils don’t get first-choice secondary

London children almost twice as likely to miss out on first-choice secondary school than pupils elsewhere

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London children almost twice as likely to miss out on first-choice secondary school than pupils elsewhere

More than a third of London children missed out on their first-choice secondary school places this year, according to a report.

The analysis, published by Labour MP Harriet Harman, showed 34 per cent of children in the capital missed out on their first-choice place, a 2 per cent rise from 2017, and almost double the national average of 17.9 per cent.

It also found pupils in the inner city were much less likely to land a place at their preferred school, with 37.3 per cent of pupils in inner London boroughs applying to secondary schools missing out on their first choice.

Ms Harman, who represents the Camberwell and Peckham constituency in south-east London, said: "The Government must ensure the right steps are taken to make every school a good school that parents want to choose.

"They cannot continue to cut back on school funding in London and expect schools to be able to continue to improve.

"I have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, with a copy of my report to raise parents' concerns and to propose that Ofsted's terms of reference are changed so that when they are inspecting a school they look at the views of parents who don't want to send their child to that local school as well as the view of parents who do have children in the school.

"This would enable government and councils to act on the concerns of local parents."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "This Government will have created a million new school places this decade, the largest expansion since the 1970s. We are raising school standards across the board, giving parents more choice of good schools.

"In London 92 per cent of schools are now good or outstanding and so whilst the first preferences may be lower than the national average, the higher rating of good or outstanding schools means that parents still have access to a high quality education for their child."

The worst 10 local authorities for children securing a place at their first-preference school are all in London.

The worst performer was Hammersmith and Fulham, followed by the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Westminster, Wandsworth, Southwark, Merton and Brent.

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