A charter for pushy parents

YOUR story "Farce of pointless admission appeals" (TES, June 28) had the wrong headline. If it is true that "the possibility of winning an appeal is reduced to almost nil unless there is some mistake in the local authority's procedure", primary admissions are obviously working properly. The Government should look for ways to extend this benefit to secondary admission appeals.

Admissions policies exist to create a fair and transparent set of rules to guide the difficult process of allocating places at popular schools. If a policy is wrong in principle there is a separate process (via the adjudicator) to challenge it. Appeals should only be necessary as a safeguard to ensure that the rules have been applied correctly. During the last quarter of the 20th century politicians and lawyers muddied the waters considerably so that appeals could succeed on other grounds. It is naive to assume the system became fairer as a result.

The suggestion to set aside five places to accommodate successful appeals would encourage even more appeals and a large proportion would still fail. It would mean 25 places allocated according to the rules and five available for those parents articulate and pushy enough to win an open-ended special pleading competition. How fair is that?

Alan Parker President Confederation of Education Service Managers Humanities Building University of Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester

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