School places cheats: More than 1,000 investigations into allegations of lying parents last year

Hundreds of children have been banned from the state schools of their choice because their parents cheated to win them a place according to an investigation by the Independent…

The number of primary and secondary school places withdrawn after parents were caught using underhand methods to get round the admissions process has soared over the past four years. The Independent on Sunday has found that local councils across the UK launched more than 1,000 investigations last year into allegations that families had breached admissions rules, amid growing competition for primary and secondary school places.

Hundreds of offers of places were subsequently withdrawn after officials found evidence of a range of fraudulent activities, including families claiming they lived within a school’s catchment area when in fact their homes were miles away.

Council leaders, who have demanded greater powers to track down the cheats, said they were being forced to carry out scores more checks every year following tip-offs from disgruntled parents. But teaching unions said the rising tide of cheating to win places was fuelled by politicians’ insistence on parental choice and their championing of school league tables.

“We suspect that fraudulent applications are more of a problem now because successive governments have promoted the idea of parental choice in school admissions, so that parents believe they have a choice of school, rather than just having an option to apply to more than one,” a spokesman for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said. “The reality is that schools choose their pupils and parents can only express a preference for a particular school. By talking up school league tables, the Government has undoubtedly contributed to competition between schools and the idea of some being much better for pupils than others.”

More at:  School cheats: Checks on lying parents top 1,000

Interesting comment from ATL criticising the government for promoting the idea that some schools are better for pupils than others – is this ideas not patently true? Whether for an individual pupil, or a majority of pupils, it is surely the case that all schools are not equally effective. This is different from saying parents should have choice, but do teaching unions not risk total alienation from parents by suggesting all schools are equally good for their children? Or do you see it differently? Please let us know in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Local authorities and Parenting.


  1. changepatriot

    SchoolsImprove Not so true 2 decades ago, because then we didn’t have league tables + the expensive mismatch of Gove’s reforms to face

  2. ETusty

    Wouldn’t have the problem if all children got offered their local school, then others who wanted to go to it from out of the catchment could get any leftover places.  Surely it worked better years ago.  Maybe then, parents would help more in encouraging poorer schools to improve.

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