Newham sees rise in pupils offered first choice primary school

Primary school expansions are planned (picture: Dave Thompson/PA)

Primary school expansions are planned (picture: Dave Thompson/PA) - Credit: PA WIRE

Almost nine in ten children due to start at one of the borough’s primary school in September will be attending their first choice.

The figures, released today as part of national offer day, show that 88.94 per cent of parents who applied by the closing date of January 15 were offered their top preference – higher than the London average of 83.59pc.

This is an increase on last year, where 88.11pc of Newham children were offered a place at the school on the top of their list.

The borough was able to allocate a place at one of the top three preferred schools to 97.23pc of applicants – a rise from 96.87pc last year.

Class sizes in the infant years – Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – are limited to 30 pupils, meaning some schools will see more applications than there are places available.

This year saw 4,778 applications submitted on time, with 2,984 made online and 1,794 by paper.

Of these, only 92 children could not be placed at one of their parents’ six preferred schools.

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These youngsters were allocated alternative places at the school closest to their home which still had places available.

A number of Newham parents elected to apply to a school in a different borough, with 106 children offered such places.

In addition, 83 children living outside Newham were offered a place at one of the borough’s schools. Of these, 48 already have an older sibling at the school.

The figures put Newham as second in the capital when it comes to the number of children being offered a place at their first preference school.

Neighbouring Barking and Dagenham topped the table, with 89.8pc, while parents in Kensington and Chelsea were most likely to be disappointed with only 68.21 of children offered their top choice.

Cllr Rev Quintin Peppiatt, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Following a very successful secondary national offer day, the council has worked hard with schools and parents to ensure that as many of our younger pupils can attend the primary school of their choice.

“Local authorities across England continue to face significant challenges because of a lack of primary school places.

“In Newham, through careful planning and close working with schools, we have been able to meet the growing demand for school places. In addition, our primary schools continue to go from strength to strength with 85 per cent now rated good or outstanding.”