Almost 1,000 appeals against school places in Nottinghamshire last year

As children across Nottinghamshire return to school, new figures have revealed almost 1,000 appeals were submitted by unhappy parents against decisions regarding primary and secondary school places.
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The Association of School and College Leaders said pressure is placed on certain schools by the Ofsted rating system, with those deemed ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ oversubscribed, while other schools do not receive the number of required applications.

The latest figures from the Department for Education show 961 appeals were made by parents and guardians in Nottinghamshire against their child's school place before the 2022-23 academic year, down from 1,130 the year before.

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It meant 4.2 per cent of the 22,639 admissions were appealed. Of these appeals, 665, 69.2 per cent, were heard, with 192, 20 per cent, successful.

Nationally, there were 53,000 appeals submitted against the 1.5 million admission decisions to send a child to a primary or secondary school, accounting for just 3.4 per cent. (Photo by: Ben Birchall/PA/Radar)Nationally, there were 53,000 appeals submitted against the 1.5 million admission decisions to send a child to a primary or secondary school, accounting for just 3.4 per cent. (Photo by: Ben Birchall/PA/Radar)
Nationally, there were 53,000 appeals submitted against the 1.5 million admission decisions to send a child to a primary or secondary school, accounting for just 3.4 per cent. (Photo by: Ben Birchall/PA/Radar)

Nationally, there were 53,000 appeals submitted against the 1.5 million admission decisions to send a child to a primary or secondary school, accounting for just 3.4 per cent.

Of these, 8,000, 15 per cent, were successful.

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Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said appeal numbers tend to reflect the pressure on places at popular oversubscribed schools, which changes according to national and local demographics.

Mr Barton said: “The underlying problem is this pressure is created by Ofsted judgements with positive ratings driving parental demand and negative ratings leading to schools being undersubscribed.

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“Ofsted ratings need to be ditched and replaced with judgements which give a m ore rounded picture and schools must be given more targeted support. This would reduce the pressure on places and provide a basis for sustained improvement to the benefit of children and communities.”

A DfE spokesman said: “We have created almost 1.2 million places since 2010, the largest increase in school capacity in at least two generations and we continue to work closely with local authorities to make sure they offer a school place to every child in the country.

“In 2023, 92.5 per cent of families were offered their first-choice primary school, while 82.6 per cent were offered their first-choice secondary school. The Chief Adjudicator’s most recent report shows the admissions system is working well, and the level of appeals remains low.”