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A Place for Everyone: Lambeth Secondary Schools Offer Every Child a Place for this September

For the second year running, every child whose application was on time has received an offer of a secondary school place in Lambeth, new figures have revealed today [Monday].

More than 85 per cent of parents who applied to a secondary school in the borough have been offered a place at their first or second-choice schools.

On the day that parents across London are told which secondary schools their children have been offered, Lambeth Council has revealed that it dealt with 2,419 applications this year, an increase of 147 on 2013. The proportion of applications made online rose from 50.8 per cent in 2013 to 97 per cent this year.

Overall, the number of children being offered places at their first or second-choice schools also rose this year; 1,629 children were offered a place at their first-preference school, 46 more than last year, and 442 were offered their second preference – 72 more than in 2013. The Council has confirmed that there are also enough spaces in Lambeth schools to support all late applicants.

The landmark achievement contrasts starkly with the picture in 2005, when over 570 pupils in the borough were left ‘in limbo’ without places allocated for their secondary education.  Parents had to fill out separate application forms for each local authority which handled admissions for their chosen schools.

There was no co-ordination of dates or offers between authorities so some parents held on to more than one offer for weeks or months until they had heard back from all the authorities they had applied to before deciding which offer to accept.  Consequently, allocation of surplus places to other children was delayed creating anxiety and uncertainty for pupils and their families.

The introduction of the Pan-London Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme in 2005 has seen the application process simplified and an increase in the number of pupils who receive an offer from one of their preferred schools.

Welcoming the figures, Cllr Rachel Heywood, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:
“These figures are a testament to the hard work of Lambeth’s education services in making sure as many children as possible can go to the schools of their choice in September. Ensuring that, for the second year in a row, every child in the borough has a place waiting for them is a tremendous achievement.

“This has always been an enormously difficult time for families, anxiously waiting to find out where their children are going to end up next. But it is clear that the days of ‘gambling’ a child’s future on a better offer that might or might not come through the post are over.

“Our children can now look forward to the next stage of their education with confidence.”

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