Almost third of applications to Havering secondary schools this term came from outside borough

Almost a third of applications to Havering secondary schools for entry this term came from parents l

Almost a third of applications to Havering secondary schools for entry this term came from parents living outside the borough. Picture: PA/Dave Thompson - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Havering’s secondary schools are being targeted by parents from as far away as Birmingham, Southend and Brent.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell - Credit: Archant

Figures have revealed that almost a third of applications for entry this term were made by parents living outside the borough.

Council data shows that of the 1,020 parents applying from outside the borough, 457 were from Barking and Dagenham, 246 from Thurrock and 69 from Redbridge.

One came from Birmingham, one from Brent and two from Southend.

Havering parents made up 2,753 of the 3,773 applications.

The figures follow the Recorder’s front page story last week revealing the tough battle for places at Havering’s top secondary schools and the lengths some parents go to in an attempt to secure a spot.

Havering Council’s investigators have unearthed cases of fraud, including attempts by parents living outside the borough to claim they reside at a Havering address.

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Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, has supported the council’s crackdown on those parents who break the law.

He said: “It is very disappointing to hear that Havering Schools are being targeted in this way, but as we have some of the best schools in east London, I understand why some parents are attempting to do this.”

The authority’s fraud team discovered nine fraudulent secondary school applications in a sample of 100, with a quarter deemed “suspicious”.

Five applications were withdrawn after investigations and three are still being looked into.

The borough’s primary schools are also proving popular.

Of 3,348 applications for places, 300 came from outside the borough. These included 136 from Barking and Dagenham and 106 from Thurrock.

One parent who registered was from Westminster, with another from Hammersmith and Fulham.

For entry this term, a total of 8,248 preferences for primary schools were made, with 9,919 for secondary education.

Recorder readers have been sharing their experiences of applying for places, which sees parents select up to six preferences.

Reader Angela Hulbert said: “It needs to be stopped.

“The houses are expensive here and there is a reason why.”

Neil Elliott added: “Wouldn’t be a problem if all schools were highly rated.”

While Asha Lal said: “I don’t think Havering is alone with this problem.”