A record-breaking 94% of Croydon’s four-year olds have been offered one of their top three choices of primary school for this September.
No Croydon parent who applied by the January deadline is without an offer of a place for their child.
This achievement is despite nearly 100 more applications being received than in the previous year and is largely the result of the council’s large school expansion programme, which is one of the largest in the country.
At present there is only a 1% difference between the number of applications received for places and the council’s estimates which were based on a careful analysis of population growth data. This data has been used to successfully bid for central government grant assistance to take the pressure off local taxpayers.
Between 2013 and 2017 the council will invest some £325million into new school places with approximately £134million of this already funded by the government. The council is continuing to lobby for further assistance and is also negotiating for the best loan rates to cover the remaining expenditure.
As a result, by September 2015, the borough will have 5,220 more primary school places than it did in 2012.
Councillor Tim Pollard, Conservative cabinet member for children, families and learning said: “Parents of over 4,530 Croydon children will be very pleased to learn that their children will be going to one of their three favoured schools. This is fantastic news for pupils and parents and shows how our focus on building new school places is paying off for the benefit of local children.
"I want to thank the team of council officers who have worked tirelessly both to build the required capacity in our schools and to place the children who apply. Through a combination of hard work, the council's commitment to investing in schools and the government support we have enjoyed, we have delivered great results in the face of not insignificant challenges.
"It is also ironic that this comes just a week after Labour's Tristram Hunt prejudged what he thougfht would be the bandwagon and wrote a piece in the Croydon Advertiser where he talked of 'crippling shotages' and warned darkly of pupils without places. It just goes to show that politicians should wait for the facts before commenting!"
The council is also looking to build several new secondary schools to cope with the increased numbers of pupils currently going through the primary and junior years.