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Big increase in school place appeal victories in Norfolk

There has been a big rise in the number of parents in Norfolk winning appeals after their child was not offered a place at their preferred school.

The trend has been revealed as the new academic year gets underway this week.

News (3875098)
News (3875098)

But, despite the rise, the overwhelming majority of children do get places at their first choice school.

Figures from the Department of Education show that, ahead of the 2017-18 academic year, parents submitted 627 appeals against the decision not to admit their child into their first choice school.

In 253 of the cases, the parents were able to make their case in a hearing with an appeals panel, with 78 walking away with a win - a success rate of 31 per cent.

This was a significant jump from 2016-17, when only 20 per cent were decided in parents’ favour.

At the same time, the rate of appeal submissions has risen. Last year there were 2.6 appeals per 100 school admissions, up from 2.1 in 2016-17.

Parents of secondary age pupils were more likely to be successful than those of primary school pupils, with a success rate of 41 per cent in 2017-18 compared to 22 per cent in the primary sector.

But, overall, 94 per cent of applicants in Norfolk were offered a place at their first choice of school last year.

However, the Local Government Association says more families across England are facing growing uncertainty when trying to secure a school place for their child.

A spokesman said: “No child should be without a place, but councils fear they will no longer be able to meet the rising costs for the creation of spaces, nor find the space for new classes, if they aren’t given the money or powers to do so.

“If we’re to meet the demand, councils should be given the powers to open new maintained schools and existing academy schools should expand where required.”

All academies, free schools and local authority-maintained schools have to follow the Government’s admissions code when deciding which pupils to allocate places to.

An independent appeal panel assesses each case, and decides whether the school was right to turn down the application.

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