ITV News investigation: Hundreds of parents lie about address to get children into better schools

Some boroughs that Havering Council has set up a special investigations unit Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of of parents have been caught lying about where they live to get their child into a good school, an ITV News investigation has found.

Over the past five years, more than 530 school applications have been rejected due to falsified or inaccurate addresses which in some instances means a child is kicked out of school, even if term has started.

Some applications were withdrawn by parents after councils queried the address given, but others have been taken to court and convicted.

One of the most frequent ways to try and beat the catchment system was to use a friend or extended family member's address instead of their own.

Other parents rent a small room or flat for a year near to the school they want their child to go until they are accepted and then moved back to their original house or elsewhere.

One woman we spoke to even took money from desperate parents so they could pretend they were renting a room in her house because she lived near a school rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted.

It has become so common in some boroughs that Havering Council has set up a special investigations unit to catch out parents who lie on school applications.

But the degree to which councils around the capital investigate parents is patchy, with some not even holding records for the number of parents caught cheating.