Harriet Harman

Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election and I am no longer an MP

Too few parents are getting their secondary school choice in Cam

Today I released my annual report examining secondary school choices for parents and children in Camberwell and Peckham.

The report entitled "Are parents in Camberwell & Peckham getting the choice of secondary school they want for their child?" examines first preference applications.

It shows that more than one third of parents in the area are not getting their children into their first choice secondary school.

This year only 58.7% of parents in Southwark got their first preference secondary school compared to the national average of 86.7%. That is the sixth lowest of all the local authorities in England. 

This is one of the biggest concerns that my constituents raise with me as their MP.

Five out of the eight secondary schools that serve children in my constituency were undersubscribed for first preferences i.e. had more places available than parents who made the school their first choice, and three schools were oversubscribed for first preferences i.e. had more first preference applications than places available.

Some schools are doing exceptionally well and have the confidence of parents. But there is still a long way to go as other schools are not winning the confidence of parents.

The important thing is for the schools and the local authority to understand the concerns of parents who are not choosing them – and take action to address those concerns.  The Government and Ofsted should also look at the reasons why parents don’t send their children to these schools.

I am demanding a meeting with the Minister for Education to insist that action be taken to address the concerns of parents who choose not to send their children to local secondary schools that are undersubscribed.

Until all secondary schools in Southwark have the confidence of all parents the school report card will still read “must do better”.

You can read the report by clicking here

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