Nearly half of Kingston children have failed to win a place at their first choice secondary school and 25 girls are suffering the agony of having no place at all.

Figures released this week showed that only 57 per cent of the 1,556 children applying to start school in September will get their first preference - one of the lowest in London.

About 125 children are being asked to settle for their fourth, fifth or sixth choice place and 25 girls have nowhere to go at all, despite there being 59 spare places across the borough in mixed schools.

Last year six out of 10 children got their first choice place.

Anna Donaldson’s daughter Lucy, 11, opted for a girls’ school but receiving a letter saying she had not been given a place at all.

Her number one choice Coombe Girls’ School has told her she is 37th on the waiting list. Waldegrave School for Girls in Twickenham, did not put her on their list as she lives too far away. Third and fourth choices Tolworth Girls’ School and the Hollyfield School have put her 30th and 87th on their waiting lists respectively.

Ms Donaldson, who also has a seven-year-old son she walks to school, said: “I was dismayed when I opened the letter. "Lucy is quite unsettled about is. She was hoping to get it sorted and start buying uniform.

“She doesn’t know where she is going to, especially when a lot of friends live nearby and have been accepted at their choice of school.”

She said she knew of three other girls at her daughter’s school, Latchmere Primary, who had not been given a place. Two of them are in Lucy’s class.

“I feel the council is going to blame me into accepting what they want.”

Karenza McCarthy, who has young children at school, said she was surprised the number getting their first choice was not lower.

She said: “There is no choice for us. "It is Grey Court School in Ham or nothing. Grey Court is fantastic but if it ever became no longer an option for us we would be left with nothing.

“My concern is the secondary school situation is going to take a back seat while they sort out the immediate problem of primary school places.”

A Kingston Council spokesman said: “After allocations, the current capacity that exists in the system is in single-sex boys schools. "The 25 unplaced pupils are girls.

“The council appreciates that this will be a worrying time for the parents of these 25 girls.

“However, we would like to reassure them that it is common to have unplaced pupils at this stage. "As the admissions process ‘shakes down’ and parents make their decisions on accepting or declining offers, additional places will become available.”

Neighbouring borogh Sutton got 63 per cent of applicants into their first choice, with Richmond close behind on 62 per cent.

Of the London boroughs, only Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Wandsworth and Croydon got a smaller percentage of children into their first choice schools