More parents in Sheffield winning school admissions appeals

More parents in Sheffield are winning their appeals after their child was denied a place at their chosen school.

Friday, 31st August 2018, 17:30 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 18:09 pm
More than a fifth of school admissions appeals in Sheffield were successful last year (pic: PA Archive/PA Images)

More than a fifth of school admissions challenges in the city were successful last year, new figures show, compared with 15 per cent in 2016/17.

Parents in Sheffield submitted 582 appeals against the decision not to admit their child into their first choice school for the 2017/18 academic year , data from the Department for Education shows.

In 399 of those cases, the parents were able to make their case to an appeals panel, with 82 walking away with a win '“ a success rate of 21 per cent.

That was a significant leap from the 2016/17 academic year, when 15 per cent of cases were decided in the parents' favour.

However, the likelihood of Sheffield's parents winning their appeals is still lower than the national average, with parents across England winning their appeals in 22 per cent of cases last year.

Joel Hardwick, head of commissioning, inclusion and schools at Sheffield Council, said: 'When we are making the initial decision for school places we always try to make sure that every child is able to go to a local school.

'Last year more than 96 per cent of children and young people were given a place in their preferred primary and secondary schools, which is well above the national average.

'When a parent makes an appeal, an independent body is able to look at each case on an individual basis to make sure the right decision has been made for that child and their family.

'If you are a parent who is not happy with the school your child has been allocated please do get in touch with our admissions team.'

The most oversubscribed secondary school in Sheffield this year was Tapton, which had to reject 140 pupils.

It was one of 17 schools across the city which were unable to meet the demand for places, with Silverdale (126), King Edward (119) and High Storrs (109) the others to turn down more than 100 applications.

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

It called for councils to be given back the powers to open new local authority-maintained schools and for existing academy schools to expand where required to ensure there were enough places to meet the demand.

All schools must follow the Government's admissions code when deciding which pupils to accept.

Parents submit appeals to the school's admissions authority, which could be the local authority or another governing body, depending on the type of school, with an independent appeal panel then assessing the case.

Last year, 90 per cent of applicants in Sheffield were offered a place at their first choice of school.

The Department for Education said the number of appeals had remained stable since 2016 and the vast majority of pupils secured a place at their first choice school this year.

It claimed the Government had created 825,000 new school places since 2010 '“ the largest expansion since the 1970s '“ and was spending £23 billion by 2021 to ensure all children have access to a good school place.