50,000 appeals over school places

Thousands of parents have appealed after their children were turned down for school places, a report says

Thousands of parents have appealed after their children were turned down for school places, a report says

First published in National News © by

Tens of thousands of appeals were lodged by mothers and fathers last year after their children were refused places at a chosen school in England, figures show.

More than a fifth of cases heard by a panel were decided in favour of parents.

One legal expert suggested that some families are resorting to appeals after failing to win a spot at a primary school close to home.

Others are lodging appeals in an attempt to secure a place at a high-achieving secondary school, he said.

Many areas, particularly major towns and cities, are facing a squeeze on places - mainly in primary schools - amid a rising birth rate.

The new government statistics show that 50,555 appeals were submitted over entry to England's state schools last autumn.

Of these, 30,315 were appeals over infant and primary school places, and the rest (20,235) related to secondary schools.

Almost 37,000 cases were heard by a panel, with 22.7% - nearly 8,400 in total - found in favour of parents.

The data, published by the Department for Education, covers both local council-run schools and academies.

Matt Richards, of schoolappeals.com, said he has seen a rise in inquiries from parents over primary school places.

"What we are seeing is more people who are being expected to travel further distances, to put their four-and-a-half year old in a cab to go to school," he said.

Mr Richards said it was becoming increasingly common for parents to put down three nearest primary schools and not get a place at one.

"People want a primary school they can logistically get their child to, by walking or public transport. But that reasonable distance seems to be stretching in what local authorities are able to offer."

He added: "At primary, people want a decent local school, at secondary they want a very good school and they will be prepared to travel a little bit."

All parents have the right to appeal if any school they applied to refuses their child a place.

The system allows parents to argue that schools broke official admissions rules or that there are ''compelling'' extra reasons why their child deserves a place.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "More parents have the choice of a good school place thanks to our reforms and the vast majority of parents have been offered a place at one of their preferred schools this academic year.

"This government has more than doubled to £5 billion the funding available to councils to create new school places, and we are allowing good schools to expand without the restrictions and bureaucracy they faced in the past.

"This has already led to the creation of 260,000 new school places across the country since 2010.

"We have also revised the admissions code so local authorities are held more closely to account over how they allocate places, providing more transparency to the public."

Comments (2)

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11:55am Fri 18 Jul 14

RealLivin says...

School places are limited and some may not get their first choice. However there are a number of issues that need sorting out. Firstly children should not be forced to go past other local schools to a distant schools, each school should have a maximum distance so that if it is the nearest school then all within that area should be accepted and those out side this distance only get the option if there are places left. The main reason I think for the lack of places at local schools is the developers who build 100's of houses but give no consideration to the impact filling those houses has on the local area. Its about time councils forced developers to cover these costs as well, by adding more class rooms to schools in the new build area and extending the local GP practices and adding in parks where relevant. Moving in 100's of new families to an area is overburdening local resources and it needs to be stopped at the source.
School places are limited and some may not get their first choice. However there are a number of issues that need sorting out. Firstly children should not be forced to go past other local schools to a distant schools, each school should have a maximum distance so that if it is the nearest school then all within that area should be accepted and those out side this distance only get the option if there are places left. The main reason I think for the lack of places at local schools is the developers who build 100's of houses but give no consideration to the impact filling those houses has on the local area. Its about time councils forced developers to cover these costs as well, by adding more class rooms to schools in the new build area and extending the local GP practices and adding in parks where relevant. Moving in 100's of new families to an area is overburdening local resources and it needs to be stopped at the source. RealLivin
  • Score: -1

4:41pm Fri 18 Jul 14

welshmen says...

While we are at it, why don't we also build an extension to our Country so we can cram more of the worlds Immigrants and their children into our over populated Country, shortage of School places, of Housing, NHS waiting times, Doctors waiting, Dentist's if your old you don't get an appointment yet Immigrants do thanks to the EU and no boarder controls, our Country is looking like a Multicultural crap-hole, and the Builders are to blame, well i've heard all the excuses but this takes the biscuit, all we need to do is STOP more Immigrants and their kids and there will be plenty of places for our kids to attend our Schools and every where else....
While we are at it, why don't we also build an extension to our Country so we can cram more of the worlds Immigrants and their children into our over populated Country, shortage of School places, of Housing, NHS waiting times, Doctors waiting, Dentist's if your old you don't get an appointment yet Immigrants do thanks to the EU and no boarder controls, our Country is looking like a Multicultural crap-hole, and the Builders are to blame, well i've heard all the excuses but this takes the biscuit, all we need to do is STOP more Immigrants and their kids and there will be plenty of places for our kids to attend our Schools and every where else.... welshmen
  • Score: 1
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