Leeds parents warned over fraudulent school applications

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PARENTS ARE being warned against using a false address to get their child into popular schools after new figures reveal dozens of investigations in the city have rooted out six fraudulent applications in recent years.

Education leaders warn that each year there are people willing to cheat the system to deny other children their rightful place at a school.

Figures obtained by The Yorkshire Evening Post show that across Yorkshire 25 places have been withdrawn or applications blocked as a result of fraudulent information being provided to local councils.

In Leeds there have been more than 30 investigations between 2014 and 2015. Of these in 2014, eight were for secondary school places and eight were for primary.

Three primary applications and two secondary ones were proven to be fraudulent. The following year the authority investigated another 15 alleged fraudulent applications.

Of these three were for secondary and 12 were for primary schools.

But only one of these was found to be fraudulent.

Education chiefs have warned they have “robust” systems in place to check whether parents in Leeds are giving false addresses to get their child into popular schools.

An investigation by the Yorkshire Evening Post reveals there have been more than 30 investigations into alleged school admission fraud in the city during 2014 and 2015.

The YEP asked education authorities, including Leeds City Council, under the Freedom of Information Act, how many investigations into alleged school admission fraud they had carried out in 2014 and 2015.

Figures reveal more than 70 investigations have been carried out across the whole of the county.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “It is really important that our admissions system is fair for everybody so we have a robust system in place to investigate any application we believe could be fraudulent.

“This includes requiring proof of address and carrying out record checks.

“Each year a small number of parents try to get a popular school place this way, taking a place that should have been given to another child. If a place is found to have been secured using fraudulent information, the offer would be withdrawn.”

In Kirklees there have been eight investigations in the past two years. There were 12 investigations in Wakefield in 2014/15 of which six cases were found to be fraudulent.

A Local Government Association spokeswoman said: “The school admissions code ensures councils and schools run a system that all parents can access equally.

“Councils have a crucial role in making sure that school admissions are fair and transparent, and will take firm action if admissions fraud, which undermines the entire system, is discovered.”

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