Thousands of Birmingham schoolchildren were left disappointed after failing to get into their first choice secondary school.
The school places crisis has prompted the government to announce an extra £100 million will be spent to create thousands of new school places across the West Midlands by 2018.
This week it emerged almost one in three Birmingham children missed out on their first choice secondary school for September
More than 4,000 of the 14,625 ten and 11-year-olds who applied for a Year 7 place have not been offered their top selection.
The figures, confirmed by Birmingham City Council, equate to 31.5 per cent of youngsters who applied, but whose hopes have been dashed.
And almost 1,000 children have not been offered any of their top six preferences.
They include city schoolgirl Courtney Wells, 11, from Northfield whose parents listed four schools in order of preference but missed out on all of them.
Instead, she has been told she will be going to a sixth form centre previously placed in special measures and branded inadequate.
Bournville School is further away from her home in Kelby Road than second choice Shenley Academy. And she has a foster sibling at fourth choice Colmers School.
Courtney’s parents’ first choice was the new University of Birmingham School, which is opening its doors in September.
A spokeswoman for the school said it had received 1,100 applications for its 150 places, with 377 pupils putting it as their first choice. Courtney’s parents Stacey and Andrew have been told she is now 177th on the waiting list for a place at the sought-after free school.
The Year 7 intake will consist of 75 pupils living around its site in Bristol Road, Selly Oak, while another 75 will come from homes near Hall Green, Small Heath and the Jewellery Quarter railway stations.
Mum Stacey, a 31-year-old foster carer, said: “We are not wholly surprised that she didn’t get into the university school as it looked so amazing that we were expecting it to be inundated with applicants. But we thought she would at least get one of her other choices.
“It is such a worrying time, all we want is the best for our daughter.
“We are going to appeal and fight this all the way.”
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said the new government cash would be used to plug a shortage in places created by a baby boom and rising immigration.
“Local councils across the West Midlands will continue to benefit from a three-year funding commitment, giving them certainty so they can plan ahead, make good investment decisions and ensure every child that needs one has a school place in the coming years,” she said. It has also emerged that a number of parents are suspected of using underhand means to secure places.
According to latest available figures, Birmingham City Council mounted more than 150 investigations into suspected fraudulent school place applications between 2010 and 2012.
Many of the investigations related to “applications that indicated a change of address which the council did not accept,” said a spokesman.
In most cases families living miles from schools used grandparents’ and friends’ addresses within catchment areas – or temporarily rented property within walking distance – to secure places.
Other parents falsely claimed that children had been baptised, to get them into faith schools.