A quarter of children miss out on first choice school

The Sir John Cass Foundation. Photo: Dick and Jane Schmitt

Many children in Tower Hamlets will be refused attendance at their first choice of secondary school as competition for places remains fierce this year.

A statement released by Tower Hamlets council reveals that 26 per cent of children in the borough will miss out on their first choice, almost twice as many as in other areas of the country

A study of 12 local authorities in England published today by The Guardian found that 15.8 per cent of children would be denied their top preference.

The study used the Sir John Cass and Red Coat School in Tower Hamlets as example of the intense contest for secondary school places.

This year there were 371 applications for just 180 places at the school, which is described as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Explaining the school’s popularity, Headteacher Mr Hayden Evans said: “We’re a high achieving school with high standards of discipline and behaviour. We’re also a multi-faith school.”

“Oversubscription has been happening for the last five years,” he added.

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets council maintained that ‘there are sufficient places remaining to ensure that none of our pupils will remain without a secondary school place for September.’

However, some children will even be sent to secondary schools that they did not even apply to.

Five per cent of children in the borough will be forced into taking places at schools which were not part of their original preferences, compared with 2.8 per cent in the rest of the country.

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