Almost 750 families appeal to Bradford Council over school places

First published in News

ALMOST 750 families have appealed to Bradford Council after failing to get their first choice school for their children in the coming year.

There have been 373 appeals for secondary school places and 373 appeals for primary school places across the district relating to the 2014/15 academic year.

But the numbers of appeals are falling - last year the Council reviewed the system after figures for the 2011/12 school year revealed there were as many as 2,600 appeals lodged. The Council believes that action taken since this report, including asking parents to list more schools on their applications, has helped drastically reduce the number.

The numbers for this year were initially higher, 457 primary school appeals and 477 secondary appeals, but fell after some children gained places via waiting lists, and other families dropped their appeals.

The figures show that the secondary schools subject to the highest number of appeals are Dixons City Academy, Beckfoot School in Bingley, St Joseph’s and St Bede's, a merged Catholic school that takes on its first pupils in September, and Bradford Girls' Grammar school. Although specific figures were not provided, the Council says each there have been between 60 and 80 appeals at each school lodged by parents unhappy their child has not been able to get a place.

The primary schools with the highest number of appeals are Wellington Primary School in Undercliffe, Blakehill Primary School in Idle, St John's CofE Primary School and Bradford Girls Grammar. Each school saw between 15 and 20 appeals.

Next week, Bradford's Schools Forum will discuss plans to further reduce pressure on school places through plans to expand a number of primary schools in areas with high pressure for places. Consultations into the expansion of Barkerend Primary School, Lidget Green Primary School, Stocks Lane Primary School and Wycliffe Primary School are currently underway, and Menston Primary School will take on more pupils from September.

Idle Primary School has also agreed to take on a "bulge" class of an extra 30 pupils from September, with plans for further bulge classes at schools across the district being discussed over the summer.

Cllr Ralph Berry, executive for children's services at Bradford Council, said despite pressures of rising populations the council was working to cut the number of families who fail to get a place at one of their first choice schools. He said: "We are working hard to try and get people to make more informed decisions and to get them to make more preferences. We have done more to get schools and communities to let parents know what is in the realm of possibility and what isn't when it comes to picking school places. We've also done more to improve the appeal panel process."

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