Parents have been lying about where they live in an attempt to get their children into better schools, an investigation has found.
Over the past five years, more than 530 school applications have been rejected due to inaccurate addresses.
To try to get around the ‘catchment area’ system that is in place, ITV News found the most common way parents lied was by using a family member’s address.
According to ITV, some applications were withdrawn by parents after councils queried the address given, but others have been taken to court.
Commenting on the report, Siobhan Freegard, founder of video parenting site Channel Mum told The Huffington Post UK: “At every school gate there are whispers about parents that have bent the rules in various ways to get their child into a favoured school.
“With the increasing number of pupils and pressure on schools, the situation is only going to get worse.”
The research revealed some parents even go as far as renting a small room or flat for a year near the school where they’d like their child to go.
The news comes shortly after it was revealed parents trying to buy a house near a top-performing state school face paying a premium of £53,426 – or 17% – compared to the average house price in the surrounding area.
Lloyds Bank found average property prices had increased in the postal districts of the 30 state schools in England which achieved the strongest GCSE results in 2015.
For example, homes in the catchment area of Beaconsfield High School in Buckinghamshire, have the largest premium, with houses going for £629,021 – above the county average of £367,191, according to the research.
“The report reveals homes in an outstanding rated school catchment can cost £70,000 more than others in the same area – and that’s a premium most families simply can’t afford,” Freegard continued.
“Teachers across the UK are doing an amazing job raising standards in schools, but the only way to stop families lying to get school places is to plough resources into ensuring every school is seen as a desirable place for children to learn.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told The Huffington Post UK: “We want every child to receive the best education possible, no matter where they live or what their background. We are increasing the number of good school places available by raising standards, allowing innovative new schools to open under the free schools programme and allowing good schools to expand without the restrictions and bureaucracy they have faced in the past.
“Cheating the system is unacceptable but remains rare, and this year more than 95% of parents received offers from one of their top three choices.”