School admissions appeals at five year high


New figures show that popular schools are being forced to pull teachers out of lessons and hire specialist lawyers to help combat a rising tide of admissions appeals from families who failed to get their children into their favoured school.

Figures show that 83,000 appeals against admissions ruling were submitted to schools last year but almost three-quarters of claims were rejected.

It was the highest rejection rate for five years and prompted fresh concerns that parents were inundating schools with spurious appeals.

Mike Griffiths, ASCL president and head of Northampton School for Boys told the Times Educational Supplement that the number of appeals was so high that he was forced to send teachers to represent the school at official hearings.

Elizabeth Phillips, head of St Marylebone School in London told the TES that the school had been forced to hire a full-time admissions officer and consult a firm of education lawyers to fight appeals.

“Parents want their child to go to a good school, not any school,” she said. “Why should oversubscribed schools have to spend so much time and money on admissions and appeals? They are being penalised for being in great demand. It’s a cost to schools at a time when budgets are going down.”

The Association of School and College Leaders called for fresh curbs to be placed on the appeals system, requiring parents to demonstrate they have proper grounds for a complaint before making an application.

Parents should be required to show that a school wilfully ignored its own admissions rules or cheated the system, it was claimed, not simply because they were unhappy with the outcome.