Half a million submit appeals for school places

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The Independent Online

The number of disappointed parents who have appealed against their child's school allocation is set to top half a million today, according to new estimates.

Between 1999 and 2007, almost 490,000 families lodged appeals, Government statistics, analysed by the Liberal Democrats, show. This will push past 500,000 when the figures for 2007/2008, are published today, the Liberal Democrats say.

In 2006/2007 alone almost 58,000 disgruntled parents appealed, and just over a third of these were successful. Liberal Democrat schools spokesman David Laws said the data was a "damning indictment of Labour's failure to raise school standards across the board, and to tackle the dramatic differences in results between some schools and neighbourhoods."

He added that the problem is worst in certain parts of the country, such as London, where the Government has failed to plan for rising pupil numbers.