West Hampstead free school campaigners reveal NW6 pupils go to 48 different secondary schools

NW6 School canvassing for supporters at Jester Festival,pictured Maureen Gallagher & Daughter Angel,

NW6 School canvassing for supporters at Jester Festival,pictured Maureen Gallagher & Daughter Angel,Jessica Scudder & Son Jonnie,Clare Craig & Annie Lodge - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Parents campaigning for a free school in West Hampstead have revealed figures which show children living in the NW6 postcode have attended 48 different secondary schools over the last three years.

The statistics, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the NW6 School campaign group, show that since 2010 children living in the wards of West Hampstead, Fortune Green and Kilburn enrolled in Year 7 at 48 different state secondary schools in Camden and other boroughs.

The parent group – who started a campaign earlier this year to set up a free school in West Hampstead to address a perceived “black hole” in secondary places – insist the figures support their case for a new school in NW6.

Dr Clare Craig, 37, co-founder of the NW6 free school campaign, said: “There is a remarkable dip in academic performance which occurs when children transfer from primary schools to secondary school.

“Much of this underperformance is driven by social factors. Children who progress to secondary school with their friends from primary school perform better.

“Even though our children all go to good schools, they often travel long distances and are being disadvantaged by not having a local school in the community.”

The figures do not include statistics relating to NW6 children attending independent schools or children living in the NW6 areas of Swiss Cottage ward.

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They show that 11-year-olds in the three wards have travelled to schools as far as 13 miles away from West Hampstead.

Since 2010, the figures show that NW6 children have attended state schools and academies in Camden, Barnet, Haringey, Westminster, Brent, Enfield, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hertfordshire.

Last year, 130 Year 7 pupils in West Hampstead, Fortune Green and Kilburn – 64 per cent of the total included in the figures – enrolled at state secondary schools and an academy in Camden.

This included 60 pupils attending Hampstead School, in Cricklewood, and 46 pupils attending UCL Academy, in Swiss Cottage, which opened in September 2012.

Another 46, or 22 per cent, of NW6 pupils attended schools in Westminster last year, while 13, or six per cent, attended Barnet schools.

Cllr Angela Mason, Camden Council’s cabinet member for children, said: “A relatively low proportion of NW6 residents go to a Camden school but this is not because of a shortage of places.

“Our analysis shows that where pupils are educated in schools outside the borough this is due to parents deciding to send their children to non-Camden schools.”