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Half of school appeals refused
More than half of the appeals made to Bradford Council by parents challenging their child’s allocated primary school place so far this year have been refused.
But the total number of appeals submitted against both primary and secondary places, and the percentage of those appeals that have been rejected, has fallen, latest figures released by the Council have shown.
This year 575 appeals were lodged by parents of primary school children compared to 635 last year – 339 have been refused this year compared to 426 last year.
A total of 57 appeals were upheld this year, 77 withdrawn, 48 places were offered before the appeal was held, one was postponed and 53 are still to be arranged before next month (September).
And a total of 252 appeals have been lodged with regard to secondary school places so far, compared to 531 last year.
This year 111 of those have been refused compared to 302 last year.
So far 29 secondary school appeals have been upheld, 29 withdrawn, 54 places were offered before the appeal was held and 29 are to be arranged before September.
Sue Colman, Bradford Council's assistant director for education and schools, said: “Where an appeal is refused by the independent appeals panel the child’s name is kept on the school’s waiting list until the end of the current academic year.
“Because of the school expansion programme, this year we have been able to more clearly match the needs of parents with their preferred choice of school.”
The primary school expansion programme, proposed by the Council last year to deal with Bradford’s increasing young population, included plans for new buildings at 29 schools, creating 1,260 extra places.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “We reviewed everything last year in the light of experience.
“We are trying to get more information to people so they have better informed decisions.” Coun Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Bradford Council, said the reason the number of appeals had gone down was because the Council now asks for five choices rather than three, giving it more chances to “get it right”.
She said the school expansion programme was “bodging it” by adding extra classrooms to already cramped schools.
Councillor Roger L’Amie, the Tory group’s education spokesman, said: “Parental choice is an important right and as far as is practical the Council should be making every effort to accommodate parental choice.
“I think it is difficult because of the increasing school population but it should be a long-term goal that as many parental choices as possible are honoured.”