Number of successful appeals against school places falls in Brighton and Hove

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Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 8:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 8:44 pm

The proportion of parents in Brighton and Hove winning an appeal over their child’s selected school fell last year, figures reveal.

Department for Education data shows in Brighton and Hove, parents took 146 cases against their child’s school placement for the 2020-21 academic year to an appeal hearing, with 29 successful – a win rate of 20 per cent.

That was down from the year before, when it was 34 per cent, and the lowest success rate since comparable records began in 2015-16. It was higher the national average of 19 per cent.

The number of appeals heard in Brighton and Hove last year equated to 2.4% of all admissions, up from 2.1% the previous year.

Postcode lottery

Parents are facing a postcode lottery for appeals across England, the figures show, with wide variation in success rates between local authorities.

Matt Richards, founder of law firm schoolappeals.com, said the urban landscape of an area could be a factor in the variation in success rates.

He said cases in urbanised areas of London were more likely to feature parents simply wanting their child to be placed in a better school but in rural areas with schools more than five miles apart, it could be down to logistical reasons.

Schools follow the Government’s admission code when deciding which pupils to allocate places to each year.

When a parent is unhappy about an allocation, such as not achieving their first-place preference, an appeal can be submitted to the school’s admissions authority.

That can go to an independent appeal panel which then assesses whether the school was right to turn down the application.

First choices

In Brighton and Hove, 87 per cent of pupil applicants were offered a first-choice school place last year.

The number of appeals heard equated to 2.4 per cent of all admissions, up from 2.1 per cent the previous year.

Of the outcomes, parents of secondary school-age pupils were more likely to win than those of primary school pupils.

Across England, the number of appeals heard fell sharply last year, from 48,100 in 2019-20 to 41,100 in 2020-21. The Local Government Association said councils and schools work extremely hard to try and ensure that as many pupils as possible are allocated their first preference.

A Department for Education spokesman said with an increase in schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, parents could be ‘confident their child will get the high-quality education they deserve’.

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