Saturday, June 02, 2007

Academies: admissions policy is critical

Research published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows that secondary schools which are their own admission authorities are much less representative of their local area. IPPR argues that schools have no reason to be their own admissions authorities, other than to select students by ability or socio-economic background.

The IPPR research that shows that:

Faith schools which are their own admission authorities are ten times more likely to be highly unrepresentative of their surrounding area than faith schools where the local authority is the admission authority.

Non-religious schools which are their own admissions authorities are six times more likely to be highly unrepresentative of their surrounding area than community schools for whom the local authority is the admission authority.

Overall, secondary schools are twice as segregated by ability than they would be if they took the pupils living nearest to the school. The report also cites strong evidence of ‘peer effects’ on individual student performance and evidence that high levels of social segregation are associated with lower results overall.

IPPR’s report recommends (rightly in my view) that every school – including Academies, Trust schools, Foundation schools and faith schools - should be part of a local system of admissions, in order to give parents a fairer choice of school places and to help tackle educational segregation.

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