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School admissions overhaul long overdue

5 March 2013

The admissions appeals process does not work according to the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council (AJTC), who suggest appeals panels for academies lack independence and transparency.

If they do, the fault lies not with academies or the panels but in the process itself. The school admissions and appeals process needs overhauling to improve the clarity of the policies adopted by schools and academies and to remove the automatic right of appeal afforded to parents, regardless of merit.

An ‘appeal’ that does not require appellants to allege grounds of malpractice, inequity or procedural unfairness is not an appeal – it is a second bite of the cherry. Appeal grounds have to be introduced to reduce the number of lodged appeals from the 83,470 lodged in 2010/11, to more manageable levels.

Without it, we will continue to see 80,000+ appeals per year and a huge drain on the management time and financial resources of many schools – time and money that could be far better spent elsewhere.

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