APPEALS over school admissions are to be heard by independent panels set up by Dorset Council throughout June.

Around 100 cases are expected to be dealt with during the month, most of them to be held online for the first time ever because of the current coronavirus restrictions.

This year almost 95 per cent of pupils in the rural county were offered their preferred choice of infant, first, primary, junior or middle school.

The council’s school admissions team received 4,547 infant, first and primary and middle school applications and were able to offer 4,308 families their first choice of school – a total of 94.7 per cent.

Said education and early help portfolio holder Cllr Andrew Parry: “These are unusual and difficult times, but we are looking forward to September and a new school year.

“Our work to try and offer families their preferred school has been continuing and I am delighted that so many children will be able to attend their first choice of school. It is a great achievement that first preference choices have been offered on this scale.”

The cases going before the independent appeal panel only relate to community schools in Dorset with other schools having their own process to deal with appeals. These include voluntary aided schools, voluntary controlled schools, foundation schools and academies.

Most of the appeal cases are for schools which are oversubscribed.