Nearly one in three Suffolk parents successful with school admission appeals
PUBLISHED: 12:53 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 02 September 2018
Nearly a third of admission appeals heard over primary school places in Suffolk were decided in favour of parents last year it has emerged – the highest level since 2010.
The Department for Education published data last week on the number of appeals lodged by parents in 2017/18, revealing that 264 appeals were lodged over primary admission places in Suffolk.
Of those 167 were heard at an appeal panel, with 31.1% being found in favour of parents – nearly one in three.
While the actual number of appeals has fluctuated over the last six years, it represents the highest success rate for appealing parents in Suffolk since 2009/10, when 33.8% of appeals were in their favour.
But Suffolk County Council has defended its admission statistics, believing that many of the appeals come from parents moving into an area or applying for oversubscribed schools.
“The main reason for this was due to the substantial increase in Key Stage 2 over Key Stage 1 appeals,” a county council spokesman said.
“The majority of Key Stage 2 appeals are lodged by parents or carers when they move into an area, or wish for their child to change to a different school for various reasons.
“Admission authorities are unable to hold places at any school which means popular schools are full when a parent applies and the place will be refused.”
The council said its data showed 98.85% of children were offered a place at one of the schools their parents or carers applied for, with 94.68% gaining their first preference.
Data for state-funded secondary schools revealed a 33.9% success rate for parents appealing last year, down from 41.8% previously.
Parents and carers can choose to appeal if their child is refused a place at a school they apply for, with those being heard going to an independent panel.
The panel weighs up explanations by parents and individual circumstances with the reason a school cannot take that child before coming to a decision.
Councillor Jack Abbott, opposition education spokesman said: “The appeals process can leave many families in limbo, increasing uncertainty during what can be a stressful period.
“It’s imperative that, where a first choice place can be offered, it is done so without delay.”