School Admissions

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All Aboard the School Choice Bus
All Aboard!

Another day another Gove ‘cunning plan’. This time it is to abolish Local Authority lotteries and allow schools to run individual lotteries for school admissions. Gear up for a mess, a lot of complaints and a very ugly admissions war.

Government after government have pushed an idea (ideal?) that parents have choice over which school their child attends. Well to some extent they do, they can of course pay for a private education if they so wish. Private schools also offer some scholarships and children can attend even if the parents cannot easily afford the fees. But for state schools choice is really a myth. There is no real choice. All the parents who care put the best school (in their view) at the top of the list, but actual choice is very limited. The closest school to where I live is not the top choice for a school for any children I may have of school age (luckily they are all adults no longer in education). Of the two schools I would ‘choose’, one is about 3 miles away, the other is on the far side of the city. Another ‘close’ school is one that many avoid like the plague.

I may ‘choose’ whatever school I wish, but as for getting in, well, little to no chance and in all likelihood any child of mine would not be offered any of the choices I would make. In effect there is no choice.

Why not turn the whole thing on it head? Why not allocate children to the local school and instead of spending all the time and effort on the admission systems, we should spend the time and money pn making all the schools good.


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