Admissions appeals 2018: Secondary appeals rise but success rates drop

Figures on the number of admissions appeals for the 2017-18 academic year reveal another increase in the number of secondary school appeals.

The data, released by the Department for Education this morning, shows the overall proportion of appeals made and upheld has barely changed since last year, and reveals that half of all appeals are now about admission to academies.

Here are the main findings for this year.

Secondary school appeals rise as primary drop

In 2017-18, the secondary school appeals heard by a panel made up 4.1 per cent of new admissions.  This is an increase on 3.7 per cent in 2016-17, and 3.6 per cent the year before.

At primary level the proportion of appeals heard dropped to 2 per cent of new admissions, from 2.3 per cent last year and 2.6 per cent in 2015-16. However, this is partly due to the low levels of appeal for infant classes (reception and year one and two) where the number of appeals heard by a panel stood at just 1.7 per cent, compared to 3.4 per cent for other primary classes.

Overall the number of appeals is largely the same as last year. In 2017-18, 60,718 appeals were lodged, compared with 60,886 in 2016-17. For both years, this equates to four per cent of all new admissions. This year, 44,520 of appeals made were heard by a panel, equating to three per cent of all new admissions and up from 2.9 per cent the year before.

Primary school success rate grows but secondary falls

Non-infant primary classes had the highest proportion of heard appeals being upheld, rising to 36.3 per cent from 35.8 per cent in 2016-17. Successful infant class appeals were much lower at 12.2 per cent, although this was still an increase on last year’s figure of 11.7 per cent.

The success rate for secondary schools was 23.4 per cent. This is a drop from 24.6 per cent last year, and 26.3 per cent the year before.

Overall, 21.8 per cent of all appeals heard by a panel (9,715 appeals) were successful. This is the same success rate as in 2016-17.

Appeals success was highest in foundation schools

Just like the year before, appeals to foundation schools were the most successful in 2017-18, with 27.1 per cent of all heard appeals being upheld. The lowest success rate is to be found at community and voluntary controlled schools, where 19.1 per cent of appeals were upheld.

However, it’s worth noting that foundation schools also had a smaller rate of appeals being heard, standing a 2.1 per cent of new admissions compared to 2.6 per cent for community and voluntary schools and 3.3 per cent for academies. More than half the total appeals heard now relate to academies.

Top and bottom appeals rates in the country 

Many London councils reject all appeals, with Sutton hearing 40 primary level appeals but failing to uphold any of them.

Cornwall has one of the highest success rates, upholding 57.8 per cent of all primary appeals and 70 per cent of all secondary. Although Knowsley has a 100 per cent success rate at secondary level, it heard just five hearings this year. In comparison, Wigan – with a success rate 83.9 per cent – heard 93 hearings.

Here’s the local authority break down.