National offers day: poorer pupils missing out, research says.

‘New research, published on National Offer Day, shows young people from the poorest families are much less likely to win places at the one of the country’s top 500 comprehensive schools for GCSE results. 

These secondary schools are significantly more “socially selective” that the average state school, taking around half the population of disadvantaged pupils than the average state school, analysis by the Sutton Trust concludes.

Faith schools were found to be the most socially selective group of top schools – more than three times more selective as non-faith schools - making up a third of the top 500 group.

The social mobility charity has called on the Government to introduce the use of ballots - where a proportion of places is allocated randomly - or banding across abilities to achieve a more balanced intake in each catchment area.’ - Independent

‘The study also found a house price premium of about 20% near top comprehensives.

A typical house in one of these catchment areas costs about £45,700 more than the average property in the same local authority.

This means pupils whose families can afford to buy in these areas are more likely to get places at the top secondary schools, pricing poorer pupils out, says the charity…

Last year, 62,301 appeals were lodged for primary and secondary schools (3% of total admissions) of which 22% were successful.’ - BBC

‘Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “With the number of secondary pupils increasing, we fear more children will be disappointed and not get their first choice of school.   

“This can lead to huge uncertainty for pupils and parents, with some children finding they will have to travel long distances, or attend schools where they won’t know anyone, causing distress at a vital time in pupils’ education.” ‘ - Telegraph

‘Most authorities - 85 in total (57%) - witnessed a drop in the proportion of 11-year-olds offered their first secondary school preference over the past five years.

And about two-thirds, 98 councils (65%), have seen a drop in the proportion offered one of their overall preferences during this time.

Liverpool saw the biggest drop for first choices, down seven percentage points on 2015. While Hammersmith and Fulham in west London had the biggest drop for overall preferences, down 4.2 points.

The biggest fall in first-preference offers between 2011 and 2016 was in Blackpool, down 19.6 percentage points. It also had the largest drop for overall preferences, down eight percentage points.’ – BBC Education

‘A more detailed picture of how many of children in their final year of primary school have got into their first choice will emerge later on Wednesday as local authorities publish figures.
Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the government had created a schools places lottery. “One reason for this situation is that new free schools are not always opened in the areas of greatest demographic need, especially at secondary level,” he said.

“Where this is the case, a new free school may create spare capacity in the area, and this can affect pupil numbers, and therefore funding, at neighbouring schools, and in the new free school itself. The government believes this creates competition and drives up standards but there is no evidence that this is the case and it may damage existing good schools in the area.”’ - Guardian

‘Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said: "Finding a place for their children at a local school is a stressful experience for many families. The massive increase in pupil numbers over the next few years, particularly at secondary age, will only make it harder.

"Integrated local planning of school places across maintained, academy and free schools is vital to ensure sufficient provision in all areas of the country.”…

A DfE spokesman said: "The proportion of parents getting a place at their first choice of school remains stable, and last year almost all parents got an offer at one of their top three preferred schools.

"Nearly 600,000 additional pupil places were created between May 2010 and May 2015, and the government is now pushing ahead with the creation of a further 600,000 new school places as part of its wider £23 billion investment in the school estate up to 2021."’ - TES


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