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17th of November, 2015

One in two families say securing an excellent local school place for their children is as stressful as moving house

New survey finds UK's school admissions process 'unnecessarily confusing'


More than half the families in the UK find getting their children into a good local school is as stressful as moving home, sometimes more so, largely because of the country's 'unnecessarily confusing' admissions process, according to a new survey by One Poll on behalf of FindASchool by 192.com, a free definitive guide to all schools in the UK, including admissions information, designed to help parents to make informed decisions.

66 per cent of parents surveyed felt that the UK's admissions system makes the process of finding a school unnecessarily confusing. Problems occur because different schools can have different admissions criteria and variable 'cut-off' points - the distance a child can live from the school. This is obviously a particularly stressful issue in areas surrounding popular, high performing schools with good Ofsted ratings, which then become oversubscribed.

Despite 57% of the parents surveyed finding the school admissions process as stressful as a house move, 28.4 per cent of them said they would be prepared to move house to get their child into a good school. 57.4 per cent said if they were moving, they would be willing to pay more for a house if it guaranteed access to a preferred school.

The survey of 1,000 parents of school-age children also found that over half would go to extreme lengths to win a place at their desired school. This included 1 in 10 prepared to register at a different address or to lie on the application form about their personal circumstances, while others said they would fake a religious belief or change religion (7.5%).

Other less illegal or immoral solutions adopted by thwarted parents include paying for a private school (11.4%) or enduring over five hours travel per week to enable their child to attend a school located some distance from their home.

Data available on FindASchool shows that in 2014, 47% of the UK's schools were oversubscribed (44% secondary schools, 48% primaries) rising to 65% of secondary schools and 68% of primaries in London. The average cut-off distance for all oversubscribed schools in England is 2.3km for primary schools and 4.8km for secondary schools, but it is hugely variable. For example, 111 primary schools in the country have an admissions distance of less than 300m, roughly a three-minute walk, and in London there are admissions areas as small as 100m.

"Choosing a school for your child and navigating the admissions process can be very stressful," said Ed Rushton, Founder of FindASchool by 192.com. "Collecting and collating all the admissions data for primary and secondary schools in the country is a mammoth task, so I am not surprised by the results of this survey. From my own experience I know how difficult it is both to find and understand the information you need to make an informed decision, which is why I developed a free online service to help other parents."

"We've known for some time that parents will go to extreme lengths to get their child into the school of their choice."

Until now parents have found it difficult to get the school admissions criteria they need to make an informed application. Much of the information that FindASchool provides such as the Successful Applicant Area that shows where you would have needed to live in previous years to gain a place at a school, has never been collected before and is unavailable anywhere else. In collecting this data FindASchool has discovered over 400 permutations of state school admissions criteria, which demonstrates how varied and confusing admissions can be for parents. One example of the complexities is a Primary School in Rotherham, which has 16 places available for new students, however the admissions criteria is four pages long and has 23 priority levels, which is more than the number of places available.

FindASchool is designed to help parents make decisions on school applications by presenting all the information they need in one place, and by showing where they would have needed to live to get in to a school in previous years. For further information on FindASchool by 192.com please visit www.192.com/school


Information for Editors:

About FindASchool by 192.com

FindASchool is the latest service from 192.com, the UK's leading online directory. Launched in November 2015, FindASchool is a tool to help parents research and understand their chances of getting a place at the school of their choice - the definitive guide to school admissions and more. It is designed to help parents make decisions on school applications by presenting all the information they need in one place, and by showing where they would have needed to live to get in to a school in previous years.