School place appeals drop to six-year low - with just 66 successful

Archbishop Sancroft High School, Harleston - 09072019. Picture: James Bass Photography

Pupils at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston. - Credit: James Bass Photography

The number of parents appealing after their children were denied their preferred school places has fallen to its lowest figure in six years.

Norfolk saw 298 admission appeals lodged by parents relating to secondary school places for 2020/21, according to figures from the Department for Education.

There were a further 88 appeals lodged over primary school admissions.

Of the 281 that went on to be heard by an appeal panel, just 54 secondary school and 12 primary school appeals were successful.

The total of 386 appeals by unhappy parents was the lowest seen in Norfolk since 2015 and marks a 57pc drop from the 666 appeals that were heard in 2019.

Walking to school

386 parents in Norfolk lodged school place admission appeals in 2020/21. - Credit: PA


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Most appeals are made when children have not received the offer of a place at their first preference school.

However, appeals relating to other transfers at the start of the school year are also included in the figures. 

For children starting schools this September, 91.3pc of pupils received a place at their first choice school, while 96.9pc received a place at one of their top three options, with 431 children being offered a place at their second preference.

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The rapid growth of some Norfolk towns and suburbs of Norwich has meant a number of schools are oversubscribed.

John Fisher, NCC cabinet member for childrens services. Photo: Broadland District Council

John Fisher, cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Archant

Multi-million pound plans to build four new schools and expand four others by 2025 have been given the go-ahead by Norfolk County Council. 

John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "We have invested millions of pounds to increase school places within pressure areas in the county.

“Parents are able to select up to three preferences for a secondary school place and popular schools can be oversubscribed. In these cases, places are offered based on those schools’ admissions criteria. 

“If we are not able to offer a place at any of the preferred schools, we are under a legal duty to offer a school place. This will usually be at the next nearest school with spaces and if this school is over three miles from the home address transport will be provided.”

Classroom

Just 54 secondary school and 12 primary school appeals were successful. - Credit: PA

New schools will include North Norwich High School, a 1,000 place secondary school, and new primary schools in Poringland, Cringleford and Thetford.

Meanwhile a number of oversubscribed are undergoing expansion to create extra places, including Hethersett Academy and Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey.

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