South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - AB­BIE WIGHTWICK Ed­u­ca­tion ed­i­tor ab­bie.wightwick@me­di­

HUN­DREDS of pupils missed out on a place at one of Wales’ most pop­u­lar high school this year, new fig­ures have shown.

And just one of the 53 in­de­pen­dent ap­peals against de­ci­sions not to of­fer ap­pli­cants places to start at Cardiff High this Septem­ber was suc­cess­ful.

The fig­ures, ob­tained from Cardiff coun­cil, come as sig­nif­i­cant changes are pro­posed to school catch­ment ar­eas.

Par­ents ap­peal­ing against school ad­mis­sions de­ci­sions in the city have only have a slim chance of suc­ceed­ing, coun­cil data shows.

Nearly three times as many pupils ap­plied to Cardiff High as their first choice school this term as got in.

And for younger chil­dren, nearly twice as many ap­plied to over­sub­scribed Marl­bor­ough Road Pri­mary than got in.

Of the 685 who put Cardiff High in Cyn­coed as their first choice of three for sec­ondary school places start­ing in Septem­ber 2017, just 240 were al­lo­cated places by of­fer day, the city coun­cil said.

Of the 87 ap­peals against de­ci­sions for ad­mis­sion to high schools across the city this year, most were for fail­ing to get into Cardiff High.

Par­ents are also able to state up to three pri­mary school pref­er­ences.

There were 106 pref­er­ences made for ad­mis­sion to Marl­bor­ough Pri­mary in nearby Peny­lan by the pub­lished clos­ing date of Jan­uary 9 this year, but just 60 places were al­lo­cated on of­fer day in April 2017.

None of the four ap­peals against de­ci­sions on ap­pli­ca­tions to Marl­bor­ough were suc­cess­ful.

Across the city as a whole there were 57 ap­peals heard for ad­mis­sion to re­cep­tion classes in com­mu­nity pri­mary schools in Septem­ber. Just six were suc­cess­ful.

A fur­ther 87 ap­peals were heard for ad­mis­sion to com­mu­nity sec­ondary schools for ad­mis­sion in Septem­ber 2017. Nine were suc­cess­ful.

Ad­mis­sion ap­peals were heard for 18 pri­mary schools and five sec­ondary schools, in­clud­ing Cardiff High and Marl­bor­ough Road.

At the mo­ment Cardiff op­er­ates a sys­tem where chil­dren in the catch­ment area have first pri­or­ity, fol­lowed by sib­lings. Prox­im­ity is used within all three cri­te­ria when there are too many ap­pli­ca­tions.

That may be about to change in the face of grow­ing anger from par­ents.

As re­ported in Sat­ur­day’s Echo, Cardiff coun­cil is launch­ing a con­sul­ta­tion on changes that in­clude giv­ing chil­dren at pri­mary schools that tra­di­tion­ally feed into a sec­ondary school pri­or­ity over other chil­dren, even if they live closer to the sec­ondary.

Rod­ney Ber­man, Lib­eral Demo­crat Coun­cil­lor for Peny­lan, wel­comed plans to change the sys­tem. He said: “Many par­ents feel that the cur­rent ar­range­ments are un­fair for de­cid­ing which pupils get places when a school is over-sub­scribed.

“Pupils who have just moved into a catch­ment area cur­rently get con­sid­ered above those who may have lived there all their lives sim­ply be­cause they live closer to the school. Some par­ents who have the means to do so move closer to the school to take ad­van­tage of this, while those who can’t af­ford to do that miss out. That seems wrong from a so­cial jus­tice per­spec­tive.

“In schools like Marl­bor­ough Pri­mary, in my ward of Peny­lan, it also means pupils are be­ing scat­tered to the winds when they trans­fer to sec­ondary school be­cause they live at the fur­ther end of their high school catch­ment area. This leads to friends be­ing un­able to con­tinue at­tend­ing the same school to­gether.”

Rob bRowne

Just one of the 53 in­de­pen­dent ap­peals against de­ci­sions not to of­fer ap­pli­cants places to start at Cardiff High this Septem­ber was suc­cess­ful

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