On Tuesday, 16 April, parents in England found out the primary school where their child has been offered a place for the start of the new academic year in September. All children born between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015 are eligible for a September school reception place. The Good Schools Guide predicts that although the majority of children will be given a place at their first-choice school, many will still miss out.
Parents who are disappointed with their allocated school may consider the appeals process. However, according to the most recent government data, the success rate of school appeals varies greatly throughout the country. In the 2017/2018 academic year, 12.2 per cent of infant class appeals heard in England were decided in the child’s favour, but in London the success rate was only 3.5 per cent, with many local authorities not recording a single successful appeal. The appeals process at infant level (the first three years of primary school) is more complicated than at other ages, partly as there is a legal requirement for schools to keep class sizes to a maximum of 30 leading to less flexibility when it comes to adding extra pupils.
Elizabeth Coatman, state education consultant at The Good Schools Guide, says that despite a levelling off in applications, primary schools are still being stretched. “The large year on year increases in pupil numbers which primary schools were experiencing have now graduated to secondary school. But places at the most popular primary schools in many parts of the country are still in short supply and parents are fearful of having to send their children to less desirable schools. We know the education funding crisis is compounding things for schools which were already struggling. For parents whose children will be expected to take the first steps of their education career at one of these underperforming schools, it is extremely concerning. Appealing is an option, but however unfair it may feel, siblings attending other schools, super-sized classes and poor Ofsted reports are unlikely to be successful grounds for appeal.
A free pdf containing advice on what to do after receiving a disappointing Primary School offer is available to download from The Good Schools Guide.
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