Number of Northamptonshire parents winning school admission appeals rose last year, figures reveal

Parents of secondary school-age pupils were more likely to win than those of primary school pupils, with a success rate of 18 percent

The proportion of parents in Northamptonshire winning an appeal over their child's selected school rose last year, figures reveal.

Department for Education data shows in Northamptonshire, parents took 580 cases against their child’s school placement for the 2020-21 academic year to an appeal hearing, with 103 successful – a win rate of 18 percent.

The success rate was up from the year before, when it was 17 percent, but lower than the national average of 19 percent.

Secondary school admission appeals had an 18 percent success rate in Northamptonshire. (File picture).

Parents are facing a postcode lottery for appeals across England, the figures show, with wide variation in success rates between local authorities.

Schools follow the Government's admission code when deciding which pupils to allocate places to each year.

When a parent is unhappy about an allocation, such as not achieving their first-place preference, an appeal can be submitted to the school's admissions authority.

That can go to an independent appeal panel which then assesses whether the school was right to turn down the application.

In Northamptonshire, 86 percent of pupil applicants were offered a first-choice school place last year.

The number of appeals heard equated to 2.7 percent of all admissions, down from 3.4 percent the previous year.

Of the outcomes, parents of secondary school-age pupils were more likely to win than those of primary school pupils, with a success rate of 18 percent compared to 16 percent.

Across England, the number of appeals heard fell sharply last year, from 48,100 in 2019-20 to 41,100 in 2020-21.

The DfE said measures were put in place to let parents to appeal during the pandemic.

These included allowing appeals hearings to be held by telephone or video conference, or be decided on the basis of written submissions.

The Local Government Association said it could not comment on specific appeal hearings.

But a spokesperson said: "Every child should have a fair chance of getting into their parents’ preferred school and councils and schools work extremely hard to try and ensure that as many pupils as possible are allocated their first preference.”

A Department for Education said with an increase in schools found to be "good" or "outstanding" by Ofsted inspectors since 2010, parents could be "confident their child will get the high-quality education they deserve".

A spokesperson added: "School admissions appeal panels are independent bodies and make decisions on an individual basis, without admission authority involvement in the decision.

“The number of appeals heard in each area varies widely, so the number of successful appeals cannot be meaningfully compared as the volume can impact the success rate of appeals.”