APPEALS against school places made by unhappy parents in Warrington has reached a record high.

As September sees the start of a new term and children return to primary and secondary schools across the town, the Department of Education has revealed shocking figures showing 251 appeals were made by parents in Warrington before the 2022-2023 academic year.

This figure has topped all previous years and The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has highlighted that schools receiving the highest Ofsted gradings are consistently oversubscribed while others do not receive the same volume of applications.

It meant 4.3 per cent of the 5,855 admissions were appealed. Of these appeals, 201 (80.08 per cent) were heard, with 74 (29.5 per cent) successful.

Nationally, there were 53,000 appeals submitted against the 1.5 million admission decisions to send a child to a primary or secondary school, accounting for just 3.4 per cent.

Of these, 8,000 (15 per cent) were successful.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said appeal numbers tend to reflect the pressure on places at popular oversubscribed schools, which changes according to national and local demographics.

Mr Barton said: “The underlying problem is that this pressure is created by Ofsted judgements with positive ratings driving parental demand and negative ratings leading to schools being undersubscribed.

“Ofsted ratings need to be ditched and replaced with judgements which give a more rounded picture and schools must be given more targeted support.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have created almost 1.2 million places since 2010, the largest increase in school capacity in at least two generations and we continue to work closely with local authorities to make sure they offer a school place to every child in the country.

“In 2023, 92.5% of families were offered their first-choice primary school, while 82.6 per cent were offered their first-choice secondary school. The Chief Adjudicator’s most recent report shows that the admissions system is working well, and the level of appeals remains low.”