Brentford Black Hole For Secondary School Places

Children being allocated places for schools they didn't apply for

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Councillor Ruth Cadbury comments on the lamentable position with secondary school places as follows:

Our post-bag is full from Brentford parents who have been disapointed that their first child going to secondary school has not been allocated a place at their first or second choice. Over a year ago I pointed out to the Director of Children's services the imbalance of secondary school provision in Brentford, as population increases meant our nearest mixed schools were no longer able to allocate places to Brentford children. Allocations for school places are done strictly by distance from school (and ignore Borough boundaries). As effective catchment areas shrink inwards, Brentford families aren't being offered places in any of our nearest mixed schools. Our nearest is Elthorne Park (up Boston Manor Road), then Chiswick, then Lampton and Hounslow Manor. Our kids can get into Isleworth & Syon, and Brentford School for Girls, but for many single-sex is not the choice they want.

I now have the figures for TW8 applicants for next year's Year 7 entry, and what schools they were offered places at and it shows the stark imbalance between preference and availability. (As we have an integrated pan-London system, every child gets one offer.)

Of 185 TW8 children, 119 were allocated their first choice school, 22 their second choice, 22 their 3rd, 4th ,5th or 6 choice), and 21 were allocated a school that they didn’t choose at all - all Hounslow Manor.

However this masks the picture as most of those who got their first choice school will have got in on the sibling rule (an older sibling already at the school gets priority over other applicants.) – I have asked for the figures with the siblings taken off, and hope I don’t need to wait as long as I did for the figures this is based on which arrived on Friday evening.

How did allocations match people’s choices?
For mixed schools, 46 put Chiswick their first or second choice, only 18 got it.
37 put Lampton 1st or 2nd, but 3 got in.
33 put Elthorne Park, 8 got in,
7 Twyford but 3 got in.
Only 8 actively chose Hounslow Manor, yet 28 have been allocated to that school.

For single-sex: 43 put Green their 1st or 2nd choice, and 13 got in,
34 Isleworth & Syon 1st or 2nd,with 35 being allocated,
30 put Brentford 1st or 2nd choice and 35 got in.

The demand from this is clearly for a mixed school. The Director of Children's Services says there is not (yet) a shortage of school places in the borough. But this mismatch of preference/available places from Brentford parents does point to making Brentford School for Girls a mixed school very soon, while we work towards the longer-term of getting a new secondary school.

Reproduced from Ruth Cadbury's blog. If you've had a problem with your secondary school place allocation, or have concerns, please contact one of your ward councillors and why not post them on the forum or email

March 22, 2010