Secondary school 'limbo' for 500 pupils

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The Independent Online

As the new school term begins this week, more than 500 children could be in limbo with regard to their secondary schooling.

As the new school term begins this week, more than 500 children could be in limbo with regard to their secondary schooling.

A survey of local education authorities in England and Wales conducted by The Independent on Sunday reveals that one in three reports having children still in search of an acceptable school place.

In the 50 authorities that replied to the survey, there were around 180 youngsters set to be kicking their heels at home this week. If this picture were replicated nationwide, it would mean just over 500 youngsters whose parents have not yet accepted the offer of a school place.

In addition to parents who have not accepted a school place, a further 290 still had an appeal pending against the place offered to them by their local authority.

Every authority reported that it had made an offer to every child in its neighbourhood, so there will be no children out of school as a result of insufficient places.

However, Margaret Morrissey, spokeswoman for the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, said: "It is worrying that hundreds of families across the country haven't found acceptable schools for their children.

"You've got to be pretty concerned about what you have been offered to say no. I don't think any parent is likely to do it lightly.

"For every parent there is likely to be another one who knows what it is like to go through the mill of appealing and being beaten into submission."

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