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Almost half of parents in boroughs with some of London’s most sought-after schools missed out on their first-choice secondary place for their child, it can be revealed.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth and Westminster all saw rates of just above 50 per cent for the number of first-preference offers made for the new term in September.

The figures, from the Pan-London Admissions Scheme, shows how competition has intensified for good schools as the number of places has failed to keep pace with the number of applications.

A total of 84,140 applications were received by the 33 boroughs – up 3.9 per cent on the 80,966 last year. Across London, an average of 67.56 per cent received their first choice school, down from 69.2 per cent.

Parents in south-east and east London were most likely to get a place at their favourite, with Bexley, Havering, Waltham Forest and Newham all granting about 75 per cent of first-choice applications.

Parents are able to list up to six schools but about 5,500 failed to secure any of their choices. They will have been offered a place at a school not on their shortlist.

The Pan-London Admissions Board said 2,000 more parents than last year – a total of 79,000 – were offered a place at one of their preferred schools. Some 88 per cent were offered a place at one of their top three schools.

Helen Jenner, chair of the Pan-London Admissions Board, said: “Not all parents and pupils can be offered their first preference, because there is simply not an unlimited number of places in London’s schools.”

London sees more pupils move across borough boundaries than elsewhere in the country for schooling. Local authorities are banned from giving their own residents priority.

Hammersmith and Fulham council said Sacred Heart, London Oratory, Burlington Danes, Lady Margaret and Fulham Boys’ schools received their highest number of applications in the past four years.

Its schools attract large numbers of applications from outside the borough, intensifying the competition for places, particularly at faith schools.

The council said 79 per cent of its 1,245 11-year-olds were offered one of their top three preferences.

Sue Macmillan, cabinet ember for children and education, said: “Our schools performed brilliantly in their GCSEs last year, and were among the top performers in London.

“This means, however, that many of our schools are heavily over-subscribed and cannot accommodate everyone who applies and that means higher numbers of people miss out on their top preferences.”

For a full borough breakdown of secondary school admissions, click on the PDF here: PanLondonAdmissions2015FAQsandstats