Parents upset as pupils miss out on place at West Norfolk school

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Devastated parents were left in tears when they discovered their child had missed out on getting a place at a top West Norfolk school.

Many failed to secure their first choice of Marshland High School when thousands of parents found out last week where their children will go for their secondary education from September.

Just three years ago the West Walton school was told it ‘required improvement’ by education inspector Ofsted. Concerns were raised about the lack of progress made by pupils and a year later, in 2015, it joined the West Norfolk Academies Trust.

Now, with rapidly improving exam results placing Marshland High in the top 20 per cent of schools nationally for progress in 2016, parents are keener than ever to get their child into the school.

Due to its increased popularity, the school had raised its Year 7 pupil admission number from 162 to 189 for the 2017/2018 academic year.

But despite the rise, the school is still heavily oversubscribed – with a further 45 pupils on the waiting list.

Many of those will now be pinning their hopes on having their school allocation changed to Marshland through appeal.

Marshland’s headteacher, Elizabeth Dormor, said the school’s long-standing reputation as a “nurturing, friendly school with high standards of behaviour and excellent pastoral care” has often led to it being oversubscribed. And now its improvement means more parents than ever want their child to get a place there.

She also said the school was “delighted” to have been able to respond to parental demand by increasing the pupil admission number by 27 – one extra teaching group.

One mum, whose daughter managed to get a place at Marshland for September, said: “I am so delighted, I can’t really believe it. I haven’t slept for weeks worrying about it!

“I do feel sad for some of my daughter’s friends who haven’t got in. Many of them, and their parents, were in tears about not getting a place. What an accolade for the school for parents to be in tears about not getting a place!”

n School admissions appeals with be heard by Norfolk County Council this year with the help of more than 50 volunteers. The authority held a recruitment campaign for volunteers in November, and the successful candidates attending a training event on Monday. The council said it was “extremely grateful” for the support of volunteers, who will hear the appeals in the summer school term.