Figures show hundreds of parents and guardians appealed school place decisions across Buckinghamshire
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As children across Buckinghamshire return to school, new figures have revealed hundreds of appeals were submitted by unhappy parents against decisions regarding school places.
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 765 appeals were made by parents and guardians in Buckinghamshire against their child's school place before the 2022-23 academic year.
It meant nearly five per cent of some 16,900 admissions were appealed. Of these appeals, 80 per cent were heard, with 10 per cent of those 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.
Of these, 8,000 were successful.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, 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 that this pressure is created by Ofsted judgements with positive ratings driving parental demand and negative ratings leading to schools being undersubscribed.
“Ofsted ratings need to be ditched and replaced with judgements which give a more 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 Department for Education spokesperson argued it had created almost 1.2 million places since 2010 - the largest increase in school capacity in at least two generations and it is working closely with local authorities to ensure every child in the country.
They added: “In 2023, 93 per cent of families were offered their first-choice primary school, while 83 per cent were offered their first-choice secondary school. The Chief Adjudicator’s most recent report shows that the admissions system is working well, and the level of appeals remains low.”