7% of parents admit to ‘playing the system’ to get their child into a better school, reveals survey

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20th January 2022 17:32 - Education

7% of parents admit to ‘playing the system’ to get their child into a better school: A survey by Zoopla has revealed that 7% of parents admit they have used the system to their advantage to get their children into their preferred school.
The poll studied 1,000 parents with children between the ages of four and 16 in the UK and also found that a quarter admit to bending the rules.
Of the parents who say they bent the rules, 16% stated they made a ‘voluntary donation’ to the school to guarantee a place; with a further 5% offering the school a bribe. Furthermore, 27% said they exaggerated their religious beliefs to get their child into a specific school, or lied about regularly attending religious services.
When looking at the reasons why parents turned to these measures to get their child into a specific school, it was uncovered that housing in the catchment area for high performing schools could cost an extra £82,000. 
The research also revealed that another way that parents successfully get their child into a specific school, is to register their son or daughter at a relative’s address which resides in the catchment area for that school, with one in 10 admitting to lying about their home address.
The number of schools being rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ has also increased from just 68% in 2010 to 86% in 2021.
The department for Education has said they will increase the number of places at sought-after schools with a £500million grant for schools nationwide.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The wider issue here is the fact that competitive pressure for school places is often driven by Ofsted ratings with parents chasing places at schools with 'good' or 'outstanding' ratings.”

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