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Fears over ‘fraudulent’ applications to Sussex schools
Extra checks are being carried out on parents amid fears they are lying about where they live to get their children into the best schools.
Sussex councils confirmed they could take away a child’s place if they discovered that inaccurate information had been provided.
But West and East Sussex County Council both refused to say how many fraudulent applications they had received for the next academic year.
Brighton and Hove City Council said it had received none.
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said an average of 12 parents a year were subjected to further investigation.
The spokesman said: “We don’t hold that information [about fraudulent claims], but we estimate that on average, each year there are around 12 cases where we have been unable to confirm information, for example addresses, through our normal checks.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean these applications were fraudulent, just that additional checks were necessary.
“We ask primary schools to check the secondary application forms to make sure the address a parent puts on the form matches the one the school has.
“We also double check addresses on the forms with the school’s database when they are submitted to us.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “All applications must be considered by law.
“Where we find a false address has been used, we will establish the true address and use that to determine the outcome of the application.
“We do not keep totals of ‘fraudulent’ applications or the number of cases where places have been withdrawn and an alternative school has been offered.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “This year we have not so far had any problems of this sort.
“We have robust procedures in place where people tell us there is a fraudulent application and also where we identify fraudulent applications ourselves.
“It is standard to request proof of address. This is set out in our admissions booklet.
“We use information we already hold to check on addresses, as well as direct dialogue with parents and carers in cases where we have cause to double check.
“If the proof received is unsatisfactory then we do not use the address for allocation purposes, but we would still offer a school place as all children are entitled to an education.”
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