Schoolzone | Fair Access to Schools?

Fair Access to Schools?

Date: 12.04.2019

Key findings:


  • Out of the half a million (545,000) total school offers in 2016/17, around 459,000 (84 per cent) of these were offers to parents for their top choice of school.
  • Around 86,000 offers were made to parents that were not their first choice of school.
  • Of those families that were not offered their top choice of school: – 1 in 7 (13,000) families successfully appealed or used waiting lists to secure their top choice of school – 1 in 5 families (16,000) were successful in using these routes to secure any school that was higher on their list than the one they were originally offered.


  • For pupils in the least deprived areas, the odds of securing a first choice school through the appeals and waiting lists system are twice as high as those living in the most deprived areas.
  • Black and Asian pupils are less likely to get a place in their top choice of school through the appeals and waiting lists system than White British and Chinese pupils. Just 10 per cent of Black pupils and 12 per cent of Asian pupils get their first choice through this route, compared to 21 per cent of White British pupils and 17 per cent of Chinese pupils.
  • Disadvantaged pupils (those eligible for the Pupil Premium) are also more likely to miss out on their first choice through appeals and waiting lists, compared to non-disadvantaged pupils (13 vs 18 per cent).
  • Those with low attainment at the end of primary are less likely to access their first choice of secondary school after using these routes than those with high attainment (15 vs 23 per cent).
  • Even after controlling for factors such as a family’s location, poorer families and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are still less likely to secure their top choice of school through the appeals and waiting list system.


Read the EPI report