Admissions balls

March 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

As those who live in Brighton and have children will know two years ago a change was made to the schools admissions system to a system now known generally as the ‘lotto’ system (I prefer to refer to it as a ballot system which is actually what it is). Having been implemented in Brighton successfully it has since been taken up by many local authorities across the country.

Now I hear that there is a possibility that the system may be scrapped with no suggestion as to what it might be replaced with.

This is absolutely extraordinary. I was involved at the leading edge of the campaign that succeeded in getting the new system implemented. It was fiercely opposed by the Tories at the time, but now even the local Tories have admitted that the system has worked well and is certainly far fairer than the system it replaced. This was based on a ‘distance to school’ criterion and excluded large swathes of the city form their nearest schools.

The current system which took into account the new ‘admissions code’ was developed after a two year period of analysis involving much modelling of alternative systems. This also involved a newly formed parents stakeholder group with representation form around the city and which had members on the main working party established by the council to look at the issue.

Over the period of analysis there was considerable public consultation and the resulting system was scrutinised in depth by the schools adjudicator when opponents of the system raised objections with him, all of which he rejected.

After all that effort, and when the new system is just two years old, but giving results in terms of meeting parental choice significantly better than the old system considering scrapping it is not just madness, it is in my view irresponsible.

Ed Balls says the concentration of resources should be on improving schools so that all schools in all areas are equally sought after. So let’s concentrate on that rather than wasting money on the inevitable expensive processes that would be involved if the current admissions system is scrapped.

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Entry filed under: Education, Government, School admissions, Schools.

Boys and girls alone Widdicombe or snowman

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Mick Landmann on education, digital technology, and the 21st century

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