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Schools which have intake very different from local population.

(32 Posts)
agapanthii Tue 02-Aug-16 13:01:35

in Fiona Millar's guardian column today . So grammar schools, single sex schools, outstanding schools and rc schools are admitting pupils wildly different than their local populations and even Toby Young is saying this will make him change his admissions process. Surely he shouldn't even have a say - admissions should be centrally organised?

mouldycheesefan Tue 02-Aug-16 13:05:43

I am surprised that you are surprised by this. Of course selective schools Intake will vary from that of the local,population. Whether admissions are managed centrally is irrelevant it's the admission criteria of the school that determines the intake.

Iamthegreatest1 Tue 02-Aug-16 13:09:09

There's nothing surprising about this. What would be interesting is if the new govt. decide to impose a universal admissions system.

Claraoswald36 Tue 02-Aug-16 13:09:19

Free and faith schools set their own admission criteria. I wouldn't expect a faith school to reflect the local demographic - why would it?
I expect the free schools arnt first choice for some families becauSe their waiting lists are long. Ours is.

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 14:59:16

What would be interesting is if the new govt. decide to impose a universal admissions system.

Not sure when the concept of going to the nearest school went out of fashion (if indeed it was ever in fashion. All I know is I went to the nearest primary, middle and high schools in the 70s). However (and I read this as a suggestion a while back) the best way to allocate school places is by lottery. Gets rid of location-lying, and makes schools less self-selecting. Would also encourage social mixing to a better extent. However, education is one those monolithic areas, so stuffed with conflicting agendas and so driven by political manipulations on "think of the children" that I can't see the UK ever developing a best-for-society approach to education.

agapanthii Tue 02-Aug-16 15:11:29

Didn't they do this recently in Brighton? I remember talking to a parent who was terrified at the lack of control of her child attending a (in her view poor) school across the city whilst her neighbours' children went to others. It does nothing for local communities.

agapanthii Tue 02-Aug-16 15:14:50

I am surprised though that : the extent to which schools disproportionately exclude poorer pupils after taking into account the level of poverty in their areas. So are parents self selecting?

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 15:15:51

It does nothing for local communities.

Wasn't the point of your OP that the current situation - allowing schools to become islands of differing social backgrounds in their local community - also does nothing for local communities ?

agapanthii Tue 02-Aug-16 16:23:51

surely a lottery system will exacerbate that problem and make it so much worse?

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 16:35:24

surely a lottery system will exacerbate that problem and make it so much worse?

Worse than a system where sharp-elbowed parents game the system ?

Not sure if that's possible hmm

disappoint15 Tue 02-Aug-16 16:48:47

If schools had to adhere to one universal admission code the situation would be much fairer.

Of course this would still lead to admission by postcode and selection by affluence, but it would mean that, if distance were the main criterion, in mixed parts of cities like London you would get schools that reflected the mix more accurately. And schools would reflect their local community.

Similarly, if a school in a deprived area did get amazing results when compared to its neighbouring schools, it would mean its teaching and ethos really were having an effect, rather than that it had skewed its intake by means of aptitude tests and 'fair (ha ha!) banding systems'.

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 16:53:19

I wonder what the purpose of schools is ? To equip pupils as best they can to try and make the next generation of society better than this one ?

Or to do better than the school down the road in OFSTED rankings and exam results ?

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-16 17:37:59

If schools had to adhere to one universal admission code the situation would be much fairer

They do. Some schools can set their own admission criteria but they must all comply with the Admissions Code. This seriously limits the criteria they can set.

Most schools (other than faith school) use much the same admission criteria as state schools - looked after children first, then medical needs, siblings and everyone else, with distance used as the tie breaker. This does, of course, result in people moving close to popular schools to try and get a place.

Fair banding, despite the view disappoint15 seems to hold, is designed to reduce the effect of people being able to effectively buy places by moving close to the school. It should result in an intake which, in ability, is broadly reflective of the local population (or the national population depending on how the test is normalised). The problem with fair banding is that some parents, particularly in more deprived families, think this means the school is not for people like them so don't apply or fail to get their child to take the test.

disappoint15 Tue 02-Aug-16 18:15:24

Sorry, I was sloppy in my language. What I meant was a universal set of admissions criteria, so that all schools had to use the same criteria. The current Admissions Code limits the criteria that schools can impose, but it still allows various aptitude tests (which are proxies for intelligence tests in most cases and if not are strongly offputting to less motivated or organised families) and it also allows the setting of catchments.

Faith schools can set lots of rather complicated religious criteria, some of which have been challenged in recent years as being unfair.

And the reason I am doubtful about the fairness in practice of 'fair banding' is that the intake of some schools that use it (though I don't have an exhaustive knowledge by any means) seems to be rather out of sync with their nearest not-banded neighbours eg some of the Harris Academies in South London. It may be just that it is offputting as ph47 says.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-16 19:30:25

some of the Harris Academies in South London

There was a lot of publicity about this a year or two ago. However, the figures being used for the Harris Academies were for the cohort taking GCSEs and reflected the intake at a time when the schools concerned were CTCs and were allowed to ignore the Admissions Code. Their intake now seems to be pretty similar in makeup to the population of nearby primary schools.

On your other points:

- I agree that some aptitude tests can be proxies for intelligence tests. They flourished at a time when secondary schools were encouraged to have a specialism for which they received additional funding. Now they are becoming rarer. Only 10% of places can be allocated on aptitude. Note that there is a limited range of subjects that can be used - PE, sport, performing arts, visual arts, modern foreign languages, design and technology, and IT. Note that schools can only use aptitude in design & technology and IT if they selected on that subject in 2007/08 and have done so every year since then.

- Thankfully most faith schools keep their religious criteria fairly simple. For CofE schools it is usually just about regular church attendance, although parents may need to make sure that they are attending in the right parish. Some schools (London Oratory spring to mind) have indeed put very complex criteria in place which have been in breach of the Admissions Code. There are still more that need to be brought into line.

I must admit I'm not entirely sure why you think setting catchments is a bad thing (if that is what you think - you seem to lump it in with aptitude tests).

I would never argue that everything in the garden is rosy. Some schools try all kinds of ways to get round the Admissions Code and enforcement is sometimes weaker than it should be. But I am somewhat suspicious of the some of the allegations in Fiona Millar's column, to say the least.

For example, the first school she talks about is Langdale Free School in Blackpool. This was an independent school which converted to a free school in 2013. As an independent, fee paying school it is unlikely to have had children eligible for FSM. Most, if not all, of the pupils that were at the school in their last year as an independent school will have remained at the school. It will be another four years before all the ex-fee paying pupils are gone. The figure Millar quotes for children eligible for FSM at this school (2.4%) appears to be an old figure, possibly from just after the school became a free school. On the latest census it was 59.3% which blows her argument out of the water completely.

I haven't looked at the other schools she discusses. Having found this level of inaccuracy in the figures for the first school mentioned I lost interest in the article.

pleasemothermay1 Wed 03-Aug-16 09:59:29

My issue is with the lottery system is that what happens with siblings

Also what the frigg happens if you don't drive even I London depending of were abouts in the la you live it can take vast amount of time to get there for example

I used to live in Ealing LA to get from Southall to Acton could take 1.5 hours and there is do direct train

To think when you start doing this for primay were children have to be dropped by parents and all schools open at the same time this would be a night mare I know from a friend who's school already dropped the sibling policey her older child missed half a hour of school daily half As both schools start at the same time

EllyMayClampett Thu 04-Aug-16 09:24:25

Of course this will happen with faith schools and grammar schools. Their primary criteria do favour local children, but children who pass a test or attend certain places of worship.

BertrandRussell Thu 04-Aug-16 09:27:00

I think lottery is the only way.

EnquiringMingeWantsToKnow Thu 04-Aug-16 09:35:58

Fair banding can work if every school uses it and the tests are done within the normal primary school day. I think I've seen it used by a school with a disproportionately low achieving intake (because it wasn't a popular school) to rebalance its intake - I'm not quite sure how I think about that, I guess it means that the low achieving children are more likely to end up with no school or a really long commute.

MariscallRoad Fri 05-Aug-16 18:41:21

That is so. Grammar schools are located in areas that people might choose as home because they like to live there. Admission is by only by exams. The grammar schools pool children from a very wide area. The parents of the pupils of grammar schools can live anywhere and not necessarily near by. My DS had been admitted to a grammar that needed 2 busses trip. We did not have a grammar school near by and the next one was even further away. Some groups of parents have made arrangements between themselves to transport their children from school home.

Ifailed Fri 05-Aug-16 18:50:00

Oh for fuck sake, lets stop beating about the bush. Education has been set up so people with money/sharp elbows/understand the system/ can keep their precious kids away from the lower orders/darkies*/thick kids.

* Yes, I know. But I'm afraid it's true. I've overheard it today in Dulwich.

MariscallRoad Fri 05-Aug-16 19:08:23

The observation that school intake does not reflect the local population holds for non-grammar scools in mixed areas of social contrasts as well.

I had been governor in an inner city London school - non grammar - located in an area with mixed incomes and contrasts of living standard. Our intake was from the less afluent because the affluent sent their children to private schools.

The Offsted specifies that:
"Learning to communicate with wider social groups has been a value of our education system and schools, promotes spiritual, moral, social and cultural development extremely well. This leads to a harmonious community founded on values of tolerance and respect for all"

MariscallRoad Fri 05-Aug-16 19:12:21

Ifailed this is unfortunaterly so sad and as I said above it was my experience. There has to be a big effort from the entire community to stop this happening.

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Aug-16 19:22:19

Ifailed- I agree.

Incidentally, some grammar schools do have catchments. Our town has a grammar and a secondary modern serving the same catchment- they are less than a mile apart. The grammar has less than 1% FSM- the secondary modern 37%. So unless you thing that poor children are inherently thicker than better off ones.........

GerdaLovesLili Fri 05-Aug-16 19:23:31

Wouldn't a lottery system end up with the children of families without cars possibly being allotted places in schools that had poor public transport links?

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