One in three pupils miss out on their first choice secondary school

Brent Council has warned that Government cuts will leave more students struggling to get into their preferred school

More than a third of children in Brent failed to win a place at their first choice secondary school, new figures have revealed.

The Pan London Coordinated Admissions Scheme said that 36 per cent of pupils missed out on a spot at their favourite school – marginally higher than the London average which is 35 per cent.

Last week, more than 3,000 students across Brent received letters telling them which secondary school they have been offered a place at.

Fewer Brent pupils were offered a place at one of their top three choices compared with the London average, with some 15 per cent of Brent students missing out, while across the Capital just 13 per cent didn’t get one of their top three spots.

Neighbouring Camden and Westminster Councils, which both take students from Kilburn, fared slightly better than Brent, with only 14 per cent of pupils not getting one of their top three choices.

However, just seven per cent of pupils in Brent missed out of any of their top six schools, and every student who applied for a secondary school for the next academic year has been offered one.

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Cllr Mary Arnold (Lab: Kilburn ward), lead member for children and families, warned that Government cuts to capital investment in school buildings is likely to leave the council struggling to find enough places in the future.

She said: “One of the challenges is that our schools are very popular because the results have really improved over the last few years. Children used to go out of the borough for their schools far more than they do now.

“The challenge really is getting the capital to expand schools to cope with rising demand. There are enough school places this year but there is going to be demand than places in future years.”

Brent currently has a shortage in primary school places and councillors expect this ‘bulge’ to work its way up to the secondary sector within the next few years, putting a strain on existing schools.

Cllr Arnold said the Government’s decision to cancel the Building Schools for the Future programme, which effectively cuts �80million of funding for large scale rebuilds, pulled the plug on expansion plans.

Copland Community School, in Cecil Avenue, Alperton Community School, in Stanley Avenue, both in Wembley, Newman Catholic College, in Harlesden Road, Harlesden, and Queen’s Park Community School, in Aylestone Avenue, Queen’s Park, were all in line for major renovation work.

Are you a parent of a child who has not received one of their first choice secondary schools? Contact the newsdesk on 0207 433 6244 or email