Majority of Kingston children get top choice for secondary school

Kingston council has confirmed that almost 90 per cent of children across the borough applying for secondary school positions in September have been offered one of their top three choices.

While the numbers are better than last year, one in ten children still haven’t got into one of their top three choices.

On March 1, Kingston council sent out the initial allocation of Year 7 offers for this September. This year, the parents and carers of 1,913 children applied for a place at a secondary school, compared to 1,894 last year.

The council said that 70 per cent of children had been offered a place at their first-choice secondary school, compared to last year’s figure of 64 per cent – a six per cent increase. Whilst 89 per cent have been offered one of their top three preferences, up from 85 per cent last year.

Councillor Diane White, portfolio holder for children’s services including education, described Kingston schools as “deservedly popular” as they offer high-quality and inclusive education for all.

She said: “To maximise the number of offers made on 1 March, we worked with a number of schools to offer additional places on National Offer Day in the expectation they will return to their published admission numbers by September.

“This approach has been taken to reduce uncertainty for parents and carers as much as possible.”

There are currently 97 children without an offer of a secondary school place in Kingston, compared with a much higher figure of 158 children at this time last year. Kingston council said those 97 children include 16 whose parents and carers applied for places after the closing date of applications.

White acknowledged that this may be an ‘anxious time’ for children and their families who are waiting for an offer but advised parents and carers that sufficient places are likely to become available to those on waiting lists from 28 March onwards.

She said: “The number of unplaced children is a reminder of the need to ensure that there are enough permanent school places in the borough.”

White said the Diocese of Southwark’s statutory proposal to establish a six-form entry secondary school in the borough in September 2025 was approved by the council last year. This would mean there would be greater certainty for parents in the longer term that their children will get places in local secondary schools.

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