Official postbags are bulging with letters from families upset that their children have not got into the school of their choice.
The level of dissatisfaction was revealed by Sue Garner, a civil servant responsible for school admissions at the Department for Education and Employment.
She told a London conference this week that many parents seemed to lack information. The majority of complaints concerned children who clearly did not meet the admissions criteria for individual schools, she said.
If parents were given clear information they could make a better assessment of their chances.
She told the conference, organised by the Association for London Government: "Maybe then they would get a school they would like, rather than finding themselves in the situation where they may come to me saying they don't like anything they've been offered."
Parental objections about admissions flood into the Department for Education and Employment between March and September.
The department has now commissioned research to examine the experience that parents go through. It will also identify the number of schools which select a proportion of their pupils by ability or aptitude.