School admissions: appeals soar by 8 per cent

There has been a sharp rise in the number of parents appealing after failing to get their children into their chosen school, new official statistics show.

Tens of thousands of admission appeals were lodged last year with more than a fifth of parents winning after their case was heard by a panel.

According to figures released today, there were 54,600 admission appeals made by parents in 2014-15 compared with 50,553 the year before – a rise of 8 per cent.

There was also an 8.2 per cent increase in appeals actually heard, with 40,014 cases being taken before a panel compared with 36,967 last year.

Of the cases that were heard by a panel, the proportion of appeals that were decided in the parent’s favour remained virtually unchanged at 22.8 per cent, with 9,124 children admitted on appeal.

The latest government statistics show that more of the appeals regarding entry to England’s state schools last year were concerned with primary places than secondary.

There were 32,160 appeals for places in infant and primary schools, of which 22,279 went on to be heard by an appeals panel and 4,255 were successful.

One in five appeals against the refusal of a place in an infant class – where legislation limits class sizes to 30 – were successful. But for junior classes in primary schools, one in three appeals was successful.

Of the 17,735 secondary appeals that went on to be heard by a panel, 27.5 per cent were successful.

The Department for Education said that the rise in appeals lodged should be seen in the context of a general rise in the number of admissions to schools – with 1,481,704 applying for a place in 2014-15 compared with 1,443,871 last year.

A DfE spokesman said: “The fact that the proportion of appeals heard and upheld remains stable in the face of rising demand for school places shows the admissions system is working well.”

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