Sunderland parents 'more likely' to win school appeals
Parents in Sunderland are more likely to win an appeal over their child's selected school than in those in other parts of the country, new figures reveal.
Department for Education data for last year shows a wide variation in school admission appeal success rates between local authorities.
In Sunderland, parents took 180 cases against their child’s school placement for the 2020-21 academic year to an appeal hearing – with 86 being successful.
The 48% success rate was up from the year before, when it was 44%, and far higher than the national average of 19%.
In Sunderland, 93% of applicants were offered a first-choice school place last year and the number of appeals equated to 2.3% of all admissions - down from 4.5% the previous year.
Parents of secondary school-age pupils were more likely to win than those of primary school pupils, with a success rate of 58% compared to 27%.
Nationally, the number of appeals heard fell sharply last year, from 48,100 in 2019-20 to 41,100 in 2020-21.
A Local Government Association spokesperson said: "Every child should have a fair chance of getting into their parents’ preferred school and councils and schools work extremely hard to try and ensure that as many pupils as possible are allocated their first preference.”
A Department for Education said: "School admissions appeal panels are independent bodies and make decisions on an individual basis.
“The number of appeals heard in each area varies widely, so the number of successful appeals cannot be meaningfully compared as the volume can impact the success rate of appeals.”