Official statistics show that in 1999-2000, 629,000, or almost one in 10 parents, disputed the decision not to give their child a place at their preferred school. This compares to one in 15 in 1996-97. Appeals against decisions on primary admissions fell by almost 5 per cent over the same period.
Although the number of successful appeals has increase for the fifth year in a row to 14,182, the proportion of successful parents has remained constant. Around three-quarters of disputes are heard by appeals committees and of these nearly a third are successful.
Education Secretary Estelle Morris said: "The rise in the number of appeals is a clear sign that parents are aware of their rights and are exercising them to try to secure a place at their favourite school. And, as the research shows, more parents are achieving the school of their choice."