There has been a “significant decrease” in the number of applications for children to start their London primary school educations in September, according to figures gathered from the capital’s boroughs by cross-party group London Councils.
A total of 87,277 applications were received by borough primary schools, representing a 2.67 per cent reduction compared with 2022. Of those, 77,260 (88.5 per cent) resulted a child securing a place at their first choice of school and a further 7,463 were offered a place at their second or third favourite.
In 2022 there were 89,618 applications received and in 2021, 90,807. London Councils says the drop in demand for places has occurred against the mixed backdrop of a continuing falling birthrate, changing parental working patterns and families moving out of the capital because of the Covid pandemic and Brexit.
The organisation, which represents all 33 of London’s local authorities, produced analysis in January anticipating a drop in primary school pupil numbers, with the decline the numbers of births found to be the main reason. The number of children born in London has been in almost unbroken yearly decline since 2012, falling below 120,000 in 2020.
There were considerable variations between the boroughs in the percentages of applicants being offered their first choice of school, with Barking & Dagenham reporting the highest proportion of successes at 95.5 per cent, followed by Hillingdon (94.9), Newham 93.7) and Enfield (92.5).
The lowest proportion being offered a place at their first choice of school was in Kensington & Chelsea (70.5 per cent), followed by Camden (81.3), Hammersmith & Fulham (82.2) and Wandsworth (83.0).