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admissions system cracking under pressure

4 March 2014

An increasing numbers of pupils have not secured a place at their first choice of school and admission authorities are no doubt bracing themselves for the cost of swathes of appeals that will undoubtedly come their way. With demand for places growing year on year and an over-complicated system staying largely the same, the number of disappointed parents and overburdened schools will continue to rise.

Arguably the government have taken measures to ease the pressure – a focus on school improvement, scrapping the satisfactory Ofsted category, forced academisation for poor-performing schools, encouraging school-to-school collaboration and making it easier for good schools to expand. Whilst they are a step in the right direction, bigger steps are required.

The appeals system needs an overhaul. A right of appeal regardless of merit or need to show appeal grounds coupled with a complex appeals process has led to high numbers of appeals and an increasing number of complaints to the Adjudicator. Continuing with this system benefits no one.

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