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Hundreds of ‘frustrated and upset’ parents appeal over children’s school places in Redbridge

09:00 11 October 2012

Hundreds of “frustrated and upset” parents in the borough are appealing after their children were refused entry into their first choice schools.

Redbridge is the second highest area in London for appeals lodged for primary and secondary schools.

Jothi Philip, of Queen Mary Avenue, South Woodford, appealed when his son did not get into his first six schools due to lack of places, despite his property backing on to Churchfields Primary.

He said the appeal was “sympathetically heard” but added: “I was very frustrated and upset. One big reason for living in this area was the good schools in the vicinity. The outcome couldn’t have been worse.”

The new statistics released by the Department of Education show in 2010/2011, 706 appeals were lodged in the borough for local authority maintained primary school places, only beaten by 761 in Newham.

Of these 499 were infant class appeals.

Out of the hundreds of appeals lodged, only 64 were decided in the parents’ favour, just under 10 per cent.

Labour Cllr Andy Walker, who has campaigned on behalf of parents, said: “The council keep building all these new houses but not providing enough provisions.”

The number of appeals for secondary school places was lower with 510, although this still puts Redbridge second highest in London.

Islam Khan, of Havering Gardens, Chadwell Heath, moved from Tower Hamlets to be closer to good schools but found the process “horrendous” after his child was unable to get into any close by.

“My son got into his fourth choice school but this was not a safe or secure route from where we live. “When we appealed I just felt like another number.

“I didn’t feel confident going in to the process as the panel had already made their decision and they couldn’t do anything about it.”

A council spokesman said: “Redbridge schools are extremely well-sought after because they are high performing.

“The percentage of Redbridge parents who got one of their preferences for September 2012 was 93 per cent for admission to primary school and 96.5 per cent for transfer from primary to secondary school.”

The Redbridge admissions policy is consulted upon annually, allocating places on objective criteria such as sibling priority for primary aged children and residence in a catchment area for secondary schools and distance.

The spokesman added: “All parents, when refused admission to any of their preference schools, are provided with information on how to appeal. We would not want to see parental rights curtailed simply to reduce the number of appeals.

“Panels must comply with the School Admissions Appeals Code when making their decision and must take into account the Authority’s reasons for refusing admission. The clear Redbridge admissions policy and its consistent application gives panels little scope for allowing appeals unless the case circumstances are of serious concern.”

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