A quarter of parents admit to ‘bending the rules’ to get their child into school

One survey shows that nearly one in four parents have broken the rules or “run the system” to increase their chances of getting their child into their favorite school.

According to Zoopla, parents are breaking school admissions criteria to avoid paying an average £82,960 premium on homes in the catchment area of ​​a high-performing school.

About 17% of parents said they lied, swindled or broke admissions rules to try to get their child into a good school, while 7% said they played the system to their advantage.

Of those flouting the rules, 16% said they made a “voluntary donation” to a school before a place was confirmed and 5% said they offered a bribe, as did four to 16-year-olds across the country. According to a survey of 1,000 parents. Britain. The findings come ahead of the elementary school application deadline this week.

Of the parents who admitted to breaking the rules or running the system, 27% said they exaggerated their religious affiliation or attended religious services so they could enter a faith school .

Meanwhile, more than a fifth (21%) said they registered their child at a family member’s address that was close to their preferred school, one in 10 lied about their home address, and 8% said they temporarily rented a second home within the catchment area. Area.

Danielle Copley, a consumer expert at Zoopla, said: “We were blown away by the data showing how many parents are going to extreme lengths to get their kids into the preferred school, which suggests that this practice is a part of the application process. is endemic to and is widespread across the country.”

He continued: “While the premium on a property in the catchment area of ​​a popular local school may seem overwhelming, we know that many homeowners have more equity tied up in their home than they realize, Which can step into a good catchment area potential.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “It is disheartening to hear that a significant minority of parents resort to admissions rules to secure places in certain schools, and a sign of intense competition. which is sometimes present around school sites.

“The survey suggests that this takes different forms, but with regard to its findings on ‘bribery’, such as parents offering donations to a school, we would like to make it very clear that such are not susceptible to temptation and the attendance criteria are strictly enforced by the admission authorities.

“Furthermore, the broader issue here is that competitive pressure for school places is often driven by offside ratings, with parents chasing places at schools with ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ ratings.

“The government needs to focus more on improving the level of support provided to schools facing the biggest challenges so that every family has access to a good local school and there is little pressure on school locations.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “We are committed to providing high quality school places for children and families where they live and have announced approximately £500 million to provide the places they need by 2023.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of good or excellent schools, from 68% in 2010 to 86% in March 2021, so parents across the country can rest assured that their child will receive a high-quality education. They are entitled.

“It is for the admission authorities to allot school places appropriately and strictly as per the admission norms of the school.”

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