Demand soars for places at Merton secondary schools

Merton parents, along with parents throughout the UK, found out last night which secondary school their children will be going to this September.

In the face of unprecedented numbers applying for places at the borough’s schools, over 88% of children have a place in one of their top three preferences, with over 62% receiving a place at their first preference.

Merton saw the fourth highest increase in applications for secondary school places in London this year – the same year in which it was announced that Merton is the only London borough to see improved GCSE results in 2014 compared with the previous year. Merton has also seen the fastest-improving GCSE results in London over the last five years, increasing from 52.4% 5 A* to C grades including English and Maths in 2009/10 to 64.2% in 2013/14 – above the London average of 61.5% and the national average of 53.4%.

In preparation for having to accommodate rising numbers of children in the borough’s schools over the coming years, the council is currently working on expansions to Cricket Green special school, Harris Merton, Harris Morden and St. Marks Academy. It is also working with the Harris Federation for a new school to serve the Wimbledon area, for which a decision from the Secretary of State is expected this month.

Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Martin Whelton said: “We are delighted that we have managed to secure places at secondary schools across the borough for all our children, and that nearly 90% of families received one of their top three choices. We remain committed to ensuring all our school children are able to learn at our best schools, and in a time of rising demand for secondary school places, we are working on expanding our schools and on new provision over the next five years. This follows on from our highly-successful £80m primary school expansion programme which will have seen an additional 4,000 places provided by 2018. Our secondary school expansion will provide great new facilities where pupils are enthused about learning, giving them the best possible start in life.”