THE NEW CLASS STRUGGLE
FIGURES REVEAL 445 CHILDREN MISSED OUT ON PLACES AT A LEADING CITY SCHOOL THIS YEAR – AND FEWER THAN 2% OF APPEALS SUCCEEDED
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.”
Just one of the 53 independent appeals against decisions not to offer applicants places to start at Cardiff High this September was successful