Barnet worst in outer London for offering children top three school place choice

Barnet has the highest number of children in outer London who did not receive school place offers at one of their top three choices, according to latest figures.

As the new academic year begins this week, statistics from the department for education (DfE) have revealed that more than 800 children from Barnet will not attend their preferred primary or secondary schools this year – ranking it second in the capital behind inner London borough Lewisham.

It is an increase of 128 children since last academic year – the joint second-largest jump in London.

By contrast, more children in Haringey will attend one of their top three choices this year, while only 364 Camden youngsters and 293 in Westminster missed out on preferred choices this year.

But Conservative Barnet Council urged caution over the figures published by the London branch of the Labour Party as the statistics do not take differing population sizes between boroughs into account. It also highlighted that the borough has three of the top selective grammar schools in the country.

A Barnet Council spokeswoman said: “This year 91 per cent of parents received one of their top three choices of primary schools in Barnet, with 88 per cent getting one of their first three choice of secondary schools.

“Of those, 80 per cent received their first choice of primary school and 68 per cent their first choice of secondary school. Every parent who has applied for a school place in Barnet has received one. Barnet is the most populous borough in London, and therefore the number of children who did not receive one of their top three preferences will always appear higher in actual numbers when compared with other less populous boroughs.”

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More than 2,000 children in Barnet will also miss out on their first choice of primary or secondary school – the third highest in London. It is 171 more than last year – the third highest increase in the capital. Barnet has also seen the joint second-largest increase in London of children who missed out on their first choice of primary and secondary schools this year, with 171 more youngsters than last year losing out. But in Camden and Haringey, more children received offers of places at their first choice schools – 81 more in Camden and 97 more in Haringey.

But more than 1,200 in Haringey and nearly 900 in Camden still missed out on their first choice of primary or secondary school.

In Camden, more children received offers of places at their first and top three choices of secondary school this year.

Thirty-two more youngsters than last year will attend a top three choice of secondary school, while 149 more received offers of a place at their first choice of secondary.

Cllr Angela Mason, Camden’s cabinet member for children said: “Camden has worked hard to ensure that all parents are made an offer at a school, and we welcome the improvement in the number of parents who got their first or one of their three preferences.”

It was a stable year for school place offers in Westminster, with only small increases in the number of youngsters who have missed out on offers of places at their first and top three choices.

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