The Telegraph has recently reported that there has been an increase in the number of children missing out on the first choice secondary school within the current applications round.
The 3rd March 2014 was National Offer Day for secondary education and a number of local authorities have reported that there has been an increase in the application rate for certain schools. Manchester City Council has revealed that 24% of pupils failed to get into the first choice school which is an increase from just 19% last year.
The difficulties are blamed on the rising birth rates in the early to mid 2000s and it has been noted that there had been an earlier increase in the number of primary school applications. This is the latest effect of the increased birth rate in the early 2000s as children now progress through the school system.
It is thought that as many as 1 in 7 children will have missed out on the primary choice of school and have to reply upon options set out in the application form or pursue the appeals mechanism. This can be somewhat confusing and stressful at a time when as a parent, you are trying to deal with your child’s disappointment, your own frustration and the need to comply with time limits in order to successfully pursue an appeal. Our Education Law team can assist with admissions appeals but there are only 20 school days to lodge an appeal and parents should therefore be aware of this time limit.
The Telegraph noted that the highest rejection rate was in the London boroughs of Westminster, Wandsworth and Hammersmith where pupils failed to obtain their primary choice at a rate of 40%. In other boroughs of London, a rate of 33% of children failed to achieve their primary option. Some schools have been flooded with as many as 12 applications for each pupil placement and a local example includes William Hulmes Grammar School, Manchester which is reported to have received 1191 applications chasing 120 places!
By Mike Pemberton, a partner in the education law team