A quarter of parents have said they've bent the rules or "played the system" to increase the chances of their child getting a spot in their preferred school. 

Many parents break the admissions criteria to avoid paying the potential cost of £82,960 to gain a home in the catchment area of a high-performing school, according to Zoopla.

A further 17% of parents said they had lied, bent, or broken rules to get into a good school, whilst another 7% played the system to their advantage. 

Some even admitted to making a "voluntary donation" to their wanted school before their child space was confirmed, 5% even offered a bribe. 

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Parents are bribing schools. (PA) Parents are bribing schools. (PA)

The news comes following a survey of 1,000 parents of children aged between four and 16 across the UK, in time for the primary school application deadline this week. 

27% of parents also exaggerated their religious affiliation and attendee religious services in order to get a spot in a faith school. 

Others have chosen to register their children at another family's address which was closer to their preferred school. 

With one in 10 lying about their home address and 8% even renting a second home within the catchment area. 

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "It is depressing to hear that a significant minority of parents resort to bending admissions rules to obtain places in certain schools, and a sign of the intense competition which sometimes exists around school places."

Barton also discussed the response to bribery, saying that "in respect of its finding on ‘bribes’ such as parents offering donations to a school, we would like to make it very clear that schools are not susceptible to such inducement and that attendance criteria is scrupulously applied by admissions authorities."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are committed to delivering high-quality school places for children and families wherever they live and have announced nearly £500 million to provide the places needed for 2023.

“The number of good or outstanding schools has increased significantly, from 68% in 2010 to 86% in March 2021, so parents across the country can be confident their child will get the high-quality education they deserve."