Admissions appeals soar as DfE says academies and faith schools may have been under-reporting
There has been a sharp rise in the number of appeals from parents who have failed to get their children into their chosen school, according to new Department for Education statistics.
But the surge follows an investigation that revealed a number of appeals to academies and voluntary-aided and foundation schools had gone unreported in previous years.
According to figures released today, there were 62,301 appeals made by parents in 2016 compared with 54,600 the year before – a rise of 14 per cent.
But these are the first figures published since changes were made to the way data on school admissions is collected and validated in the DfE school census.
They follow an investigation which suggested that some appeals connected with voluntary-aided, foundation and academy schools may have previously been omitted.
'No actual increase in appeals'
Iain Bell, head of profession for statistics at the DfE, said: "The appeals figures recorded this year are the first to be received since improvements to the school census were made in January 2016.
"Improvements in validation mean that more appeals have been reported to DfE this year. This followed concerns that some voluntary-aided, foundation and academy schools were under-reporting the number of appeals."
This year there was also a 14 per cent increase in the number of appeals actually heard, with 45,784 cases being taken before a panel compared with 40,014 last year
More than a fifth (22.3 per cent) of cases heard by a panel resulted in parents winning.
The DfE said that the rise in appeals lodged and heard should be seen in the context of changes to the census.
Its report says: "Given these changes, we cannot infer that there has been an increase in the actual appeal numbers or reach conclusions about changes to the rate of appeals lodged and heard over time."