Hundreds of parents make school placement appeal

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ALMOST 300 Wigan parents appealed against the decision over where their children would attend school during the last admissions process.

The figures show there were 197 appeals against decisions concerning primary schools and 100 against secondary schools lodged, with 64 verdicts in parents’ favour.

The results mean 16.9 per cent of parents in Wigan protesting their child’s primary school place and 40 per cent of those contesting secondary place allocations successfully appealed it.

This compares to the overall national figure of 22.8 per cent of cases being settled in parents’ favour, a marginal increase of 22.7 per cent the year before.

Wigan Council said the figures showed the system for allocating school places was working well and allowing the vast majority of children in the borough to learn at their first choice establishment.

Cath Pealing, service manager for education support, organisation and capital development, said: “We have an excellent track record in Wigan borough for enabling children to get into the school of their choice and in recent years our figures have compared favourably with the national picture.

“More than 96 per cent of children in the borough started primary school this year at one of their preferred schools and 98 per cent of secondary school pupils.

“Obviously there will be some parents and children who feel disappointed that they haven’t been offered a place at their preferred school.

“When a place has been refused because there are no spaces available, the parents have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel who will consider all information put forward by the parents and local authority.”

The data shows that altogether there were 4,230 primary school admissions and 3,601 places at high schools decided between August 2014 and October 2014 in the borough.

Of the appeals lodged 142 primary school cases and 72 secondary school cases went in front of the appeal panel.

Nationally the number of cases being decided in front of a panel is rising, with 40,014 appeals being heard in the time period, up from 36,967 in 2013-14.

In total 54,600 cases were lodged in England, a rise of eight per cent on the previous year. The data covers both council-run schools and academies.

Parents have the right to appeal if a school they applied to refuses their child a place and can argue that schools broke official admissions rules or there are compelling extra reasons why their son or daughter should go to that school.

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.”