Plymouth Council has been found guilty of maladministration after a girl with special needs was refused a place at a local grammar school despite passing the 11-plus.
The girl, who is not named for legal reasons, is dyslexic, had suffered from hearing problems and had been ill for the final paper but still managed to pass.
She was barred from her first-choice school because it was oversubscribed and other applicants had higher scores. Other pupils who had not put the school as their first choice got places. Her parents appealed but an appeals panel refused to overturn the decision.
Jerry White, the Local Government Ombudsman, criticised the way the appeal had been conducted and said that insufficient weight had been given to extenuating circumstances and parental preferences. He ordered the council to pay the family pound;250 "in recognition of the anxiety and uncertainty they were caused" and ordered the council to review its admission appeal arrangements.
Mr White praised the council for holding a second appeal hearing after reading a draft of his report. As a result the girl has now been admitted to the school.