Quarter of parents admit to 'playing system' over landing school places

Schoolchildren make their way to primary school

Almost a quarter of parents in a survey have admitted trying to play the system to secure school spots - Credit: PA

As the deadline for new school applications looms, almost a quarter of parents have admitted in a survey to "playing the system" to land their desired spot.

Parents have until tomorrow, January 15, to select their preferred schools for their children.

But ahead of this deadline, research has revealed the lengths parents are willing to go to secure places at perceived better schools.

A survey carried out by property company Zoopla found that nearly one in four parents admitted to having "played the system" to increase their chances.

Around 17pc of the 1,000 participants in the survey admitted that they had lied, bent or broken rules to enrol their child while a further seven per cent claimed to have played the system.

These include some admitting to using family members' addresses on applications instead of their own, with 16pc admitting to making a "voluntary donation" to schools and 50 admissions to offering bribes.

More than a filth of the participants used a family member's address closer to their preferred school, one in 10 lied about their home address and 8pc said they rented temporary accommodation in desired catchment areas.

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The property comparison company claimed there is an average £82,960 premium on properties close to highly rated schools, which leads to these workarounds. 

Daniel Copley, a consumer expert at Zoopla, said: "While the premium on a property in the catchment area of a popular local school might appear steep, we know that many homeowners have far more equity tied up in their home than they realise, which could make a move into a good catchment area a possibility."

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

"The survey points out that this takes different forms, but in respect of its finding on 'bribes' such as parents offering donations to a school, we would like to make it very clear that schools are not susceptible to such inducement and that attendance criteria is scrupulously applied by admissions authorities."

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