Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eleven Applicants for Every Place: London's Most Popular Schools

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eleven Applicants for Every Place: London's Most Popular Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

THEY are two of London's most popular schools, receiving 11 applicants for every place.

Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in New Cross has 2,374 applications for just 208 spaces while the Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb has 1,015 for its 93 places.

Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham is so oversubscribed that, for the past two years, it has had to operate a lottery system to allocate some of its places in order to stop middle-class parents "buying" their children a way in by snapping up houses near the gates.

An Evening Standard survey today confirms the problem of a huge mismatch between supply and demand is not confined to Hatcham and Henrietta Barnett.

Families can spend months searching for a school with decent

results that their child has a chance of getting into. If they are refused, parents have to choose between appealing or taking a place at a comprehensive with inferior results and discipline.

Our poll of 14 popular state comprehensives, grammars and city academies shows that successful schools can receive more than 1,000 applications for fewer than 200 places.

Henrietta Barnett School is a grammar and only pupils scoring the top 10 per cent of marks in its entrance test can expect a place.

Hatcham College takes children of all abilities, although it reserves 10 per cent of places for those who excel at music. Chief executive

Dr Elizabeth Sidwell had to introduce the lottery system to manage demand and took over a nearby struggling school, Malory in Lewisham, and turned it into a city academy called Knights, hoping to ease the problem.

"In fact, it hasn't taken it away at all," she said. "It has just made it very clear to us that this is an offer that parents and children want. We would look to another school if we can, not necessarily in Lewisham. …

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