Primaries cope with the birth bulge but pressure on places will soon shift east

Empty class OlegDoroshin shutterstock_243207280-1-2

Photo: Oleg Doroshin | Shutterstock

The competition for primary school places is always nerve-wracking for parents and this year was potentially the toughest yet.  A birth rate bulge in 2011/12 meant that there were more children than ever before applying for a place in reception starting in September.  But London schools appear to have coped.

Provisional figures from the Pan London Admissions Board show that when offers went out to anxious parents on 18th April about 84% received their first choice, up 1% on 2015. 93% were offered a place in one of their top three choices out of up to six schools they were asked to list on the application form.

But for more than 3,000 kids and their parents who were offered no place at their preferred schools there’s an anxious wait to see where they’ll be going in September.

Primary schools in London received 103,329 applications this year, according to the Pan London Admissions Board.  The school age population of London is growing at twice the rate of any other region of the country and forecasts from the GLA suggest the the 677,000 children attending state primaries in London will rise by 60,000 over the next decade.

The full data on places for this year is yet to be released but some provisional figures show that only 68% of children in Kensington and Chelsea got their first choice and 72% in Hammersmith and Fulham.

The GLA forecasts show that the pressure on places will shift eastwards in the coming years with greatest demand for places in Tower Hamlets – nearly 7000 extra.  Kensington and Chelsea is the only borough where demand will fall.

Primary school demand

The ongoing problem for pupils, parents, schools and local authorities is that population growth presents not just a difficulty in finding a first primary place but has a knock on across the school years, as reported by Urbs.

The GLA has forecast that London will need the equivalent of 90 new secondary schools over the next decade to cope with the growth in pupil numbers.  Primary school places may be a problem but secondary school places provide the bigger challenge as building these schools takes longer and is more expensive due to the size and facilities required.

Source data

See also

Fight for reception gets tougher as more kids swell primary school demand

105,000 extra secondary pupils pose huge challenge for capital’s schools

34,000 pupils could be without a secondary school place in next 5 years


Where are all the young people? The in-out flow of 20-something Londoners

concert hands in air-2Much is made of the exodus of young families from London but there is another significant group of London-leavers that may come as a bit of a surprise – those in their late teens and early 20s.

London may feel like a city for youth but data on population flows shows that those in their late teens and early 20s are the most likely to be leaving the capital.   And the biggest age group coming into the city is people in their late 20s and early 30s.

In 2011 there were 173,000 30 year-olds in London but only 92,000 16-year-olds. And data on internal migration flows in the UK shows that in 2014 the peak age for leaving the capital was 19-20 (the light red line in the chart below) and for moving in was 25-26 (the dark red line).

Youth pop flow

Much of this can be explained by the education and jobs cycle. A large number of people may be leaving London to go to university and an equally large number of young professional are coming to the city to work.

But longer term, the population age profile is skewing away from young adults. The population is due to grow by 1 million between 2011 and 2021 but in the same period the numbers aged 18-26 are forecast to drop by 65,000 and its 20-21 year olds where the fall is biggest – a 10% decline.

Youth pop forecast

Those arriving in the capital to pursue their career face the headache of finding somewhere affordable to live. In the boom years of the 90s this groups was twice as likely to buy their own home as they are now. In 1990 57% of 25-30 year-olds in the capital owned their own home. By last year it was down to 26%.

And the change for those in their early 20s is even more telling. A quarter of 16-24 year-old Londoners owned their own home in 1990. In 2014 it was just 6%. As our chart also shows, the only age group were the rate of property ownership is growing is the over 65s. For young people home ownership has collapsed.

Youth pop property

Those in their early 20s who stay in London and those in their late 20s who return, have one thing in common – increasingly they are living with mum and dad. Almost a quarter of those aged 20-34 were doing so last year. Back around the millennium it was just 17%.

Youth pop mum dad

Souce data

See also

Go east young man – it’s where young London lives

Under 40s locked out of housing market destined to be “generation rent”

How “Millennials” are driving an urban renaissance

Muhammad and Amelia top London’s baby name charts, again

1 in every 100 boys born in London last year was named Muhammad. It has been the most popular boys’ name in the capital since 2011 and bucks the trend of the rest England and Wales where Oliver topped the naming charts in every other region except the North East, where it was 2nd.

The other spelling of the name, Mohammed, was the 10th most popular choice in London. Taken together it was the name for 1,300 of the 65,523 boys born in the capital, or 1.98%, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

Amelia was the most popular girls’ name, as it was across England and Wales, and was given to 1% of the 61,869 girls born in London. Amelia has been the nationwide favourite since 2012.

Top Names in London 2014
Boys Girls
Muhammad Amelia
Oliver Olivia
Alexander Sophia
Daniel Isabella
Joshua Emily
James Maya
Adam Sofia
George Mia
Jack Sophie
Mohammed Chloe

Parents of girls seemed particularly fond of names ending with ia. They accounted for 5 of the top 10 names. Variants of Sophia/Sofia/Sophie also dominated accounting for more than 1,200 of the girls or just over 2%.

Source data

See also

Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Schools data reveals ethnic mix with fall in proportion of white British pupils

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils