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admissions: Cheats never prosper?

23 July 2013

Recent reports suggest the number of investigations using misleading information to support applications for admission to schools has increased tenfold since 2010/11. Current estimates now top 1,000 across England with at least 40% resulting in an offer or place being withdrawn. The most common type of misleading information was using a false address but others included claiming a child was baptised in order to gain priority at a church school.

The actual figures may be much higher given the survey was limited to local authorities, only 50% of which responded, and appears not to have taken account of academies which are responsible for their own admission decisions. There may be many reasons for this rise in fraudulent applications and the greater number of places being withdrawn under the freedoms allowed under the School Admissions Code 2012. However, action is necessary to ensure the admission system remains fair to all parents and increased withdrawal of places can only send the right message to reinforce that principle.

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