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Appeals by parents jump 50 per cent

THE number of appeals by parents against the secondary school places allocated to their children has increased by 50 per cent since Labour came to power.

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."

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