Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Children Miss out in Battle for Places; FIGURES SHOW MANY PARENTS CAN'T GET THEIR FIRST CHOICE OF SCHOOL

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Children Miss out in Battle for Places; FIGURES SHOW MANY PARENTS CAN'T GET THEIR FIRST CHOICE OF SCHOOL

Article excerpt

Byline: By NICOLA JUNCAR Education Reporter

HUNDREDS of North East parents have lost out on their battle to get their first choice of school for their child.

For the first time, the Government has released figures showing the number of appeals lodged for each local authority in the country and the number of cases to go in the parents' favour.

For both primary and secondary school applications in the North East, 1,262 appeals were lodged by parents who had been refused their first choice.

Of those, 905 families lost out and were offered places elsewhere.

In a few cases, children were given places at schools in another local authority.

The newly-released figures are for last year's admissions, but aim to give an indication as to how this year's appeal process, which is still ongoing, will turn out.

In Newcastle, 43 appeals were heard for primary school applications and only 10 went in the parents' favour. For secondaries, 251 cases were heard and 135 families lost out, with 6.3% being offered places outside the city.

In Gateshead, 92 appeals were heard for secondary applications and only a third went in the parents' favour. And of the seven appeals heard for primary schools, none were successful.

The North East authority with the most appeals lodged was County Durham, though this is the largest local authority in the region and has the most schools.

For secondary school places, 177 appeals were heard and 136 were successful. For primary schools, 86 appeals were held and 53 went in the parents' favour.

Pauline Fraser, from Morpeth, Northumberland, understands the stress families are put under when it comes to applying for a school place.

She used to work as an admissions officer for a North East council and sat on many appeal hearings after places were refused.

She is now a self-employed help coach and gives parents advice on how to appeal.

Mrs Fraser said: "It can be extremely upsetting when parents do not get a place at their preferred choice, but if they are going to appeal they need to think about their arguments for why they should be given a place. …

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