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School admission appeals numbers remain high

31 August 2017

Department for Education (DfE) admissions statistics for 2016-17 show that over 60,000 appeals were lodged by parents with fewer than 10,000 succeeding - of the 44,626 appeals heard, panels found in favour of parents in only 21.8% of cases. Or to put it another way, nearly 80% of heard cases failed.

Appeals in London are even more likely to be found in favour of the schools, with 92.9% of primary appeals and 87.9% of secondary appeals going their way.

The regional variations are interesting, but the bigger question to ask is whether the admissions appeals system is fit for purpose. Surely an appeals system where around 15,000 appeals are withdrawn before the hearing and 80% of those heard do not succeed cannot be seen as serving the best interests of pupils, parents and our schools.

There is also the very real time cost of preparing for and attending appeals, where Presenting Officers act for the schools often with an Senior Leadership Team (SLT) member alongside them. If we allow only 20 minutes per appeal for 45,000 appeals requires 15,000 hours of Presenting Officer/SLT attendance. Could their time be better spent?

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