Now that 2020 admissions data is available, what can we learn from the data?

The headline statistics are as follows: the number of children, in England, who were offered a place at their first preference school, this year, has gone up for secondary schools but down for primary schools. For secondary schools the rate has increased from 80.9% to 82.2% and for primary schools the rate has reduced marginally from 90.6% to 90.2%. This year there were 0.7% less secondary school application and 0.5% more primary school applications, than in 2019.

This is the first year on year drop of secondary school applications since 2013, when the rise in births which began in the previous decade started to reach secondary school age.

You can see in the heatmaps below how this has played out across the country, with pressure on school places still being greatest in London and the South East of the country.

The number of children, in England, who were offered a place at their first preference school, this year, has gone up for secondary schools but down for primary schools. For secondary schools the rate has increased from 80.9% to 82.2% and for primary schools the rate has reduced marginally from 90.6% to 90.2%.

2019 Secondary School Admissions2020 Secondary School Admissions
2019 Primary School Admissions2020 Primary School Admissions

At secondary level, the areas with the highest first preference rates in 2020 where:

  • Northumberland (97.3%)
  • Central Bedfordshire (96.8%)
  • Dorset (96.3%)

Whilst the lowest rates were in:

  • Hammersmith and Fulham (52.8%)
  • Lambeth (59.8%)
  • Richmond upon Thames (60.7%)

In fact London local authorities make up 9 of the 10 lowest rate areas; Slough (63.3%) being the only non-London borough in the lowest 10.

At primnary level, the areas with the highest first preference rates in 2020 where:

  • Redcar & Cleveland (99.3%)
  • Northumberland (97.9%)
  • Darlington (97.7%)

Whilst the lowest rates were in:

  • Kensington & Chelsea (70.7%)
  • Hammersmith & Fulham (73.3%)
  • Camden (74.9%)

Again, as for secondary schools, London local authorities make up 9 of the 10 lowest rate areas; Windsor & Maidenhead (82.6%) being the only non-London borough in the lowest 10. With Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham have both been in the bottom three since 2015.

You can explore the data and discover the numbers for your own local authority using our heatmaps.

Author: Lewis Tandy