County school place appeal rate success lowest in region

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Parents of children denied their preferred choice of primary or secondary schools in the county had the lowest chance of winning an appeal in the region.

Government figures released today, Thursday, showed there were 11,837 primary school admissions from September 2010 to January 2011. But of the 628 appeals launched just 15 per cent were found in favour of the parent. The percentage for the east midlands was 32 per cent and nationally 22.8 per cent of parents were successful.

Just 21.1 per cent of the 459 appeals lodged over secondary school places were successful – way below the regional average of 43.3 per cent and the national figure of 33.7 per cent.

Infant class appeals totalled 481 but only 10.2 per cent of parents were successful – half the east midlands average of 21.3 per cent and below the national rate of 14 per cent.

Tens of thousands of parents lodged appeals last year after their children were refused places at favoured primary schools, nationally.

The number of appeals against primary admissions has rocketed again this year as parents attempt to secure the schools they want for their youngsters.

In total, 46,905 appeals were lodged for admission to state primary schools, including infant classes, in 2010-11, an 11.5 per cent increase on the year before when there were 42,070.

This has almost doubled from five years ago, in 2006-07, when there were 26,435 appeals for primary places.

It has been suggested that intense pressure on primary school places, due to a rising birth rate and immigration, is fuelling the hike in appeals.

The figures, published by the Department for Education (DfE), show a drop in the numbers of appeals over state secondary school places.

There were 36,565 appeals in 2010-11, the latest year for which figures are available, compared to 43,095 in 2009-10.

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 DfE spokesman said: “Every parent should have the choice of a good local school for their child -our reforms will help create thousands of high-class new school places.”

The Government has introduced a number of reforms to improve standards, including turning weak schools into academies, allowing top schools to expand and opening free schools, he said.

The spokesman added: “We are more than doubling targeted investment at areas facing the greatest pressure on numbers - over £4 billion up to 2015 to create thousands of new school places.”