Many students will be envious of the fact that the average secondary pupil in London travels just 1.5 miles to school. The England average for those travelling to a school outside the local authority where they live is three miles.
Assuming that half of secondary school pupils arrive at school by car, the cost in petrol alone to London families is probably more than #163;12 million a year. The cost in frustration and traffic jams is much more difficult to calculate.
But despite the fact that London is home to some of the wealthiest communities in the country, the capital also houses some of the most deprived. Some 10 per cent of secondary school pupils in the capital live in the 30 per cent least deprived (that is, most affluent) communities in England.
However, this figure is dwarfed by the 63 per cent or almost 240,000 secondary pupils, who live in one of the 30 per cent most deprived areas in England. Of course, since these figures relate to pupils at state-funded schools, they underestimate the actual pupil numbers in affluent communities because a percentage of children living in these areas are educated in the private sector.
Altogether, there are 422 state-funded secondary schools in London, and more are likely to be needed within the next decade in order to deal with the capital's baby boom. At present, these schools include more than 40 academies; at least one in more than a half of the capital's boroughs. There are also 19 selective grammar schools. Slightly less than one in five pupils attends a single gender school, although the distribution of such schools is best described as random across London.
John Howson is a director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.