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admissions decisions deliver disappointment

3 March 2011

This week thousands of parents found out whether or not their child had been admitted to the secondary school of their choice. There were reports of as many as eleven applications per place in some of the country’s most popular state secondary schools. Competition for places is getting fiercer, blamed on rising birth rates, immigration and a shift from private schools to the state sector as the recession bites.

Schools Minister Nick Gibbs has said that the government’s academies and free schools programme, proposed reforms on discipline and curriculum changes should give parents a “more genuine choice of a good school”.

The Government is also planning to shorten the Admissions Code, prompting criticism that the rules may become so simplified that the Code becomes meaningless. With some commentators arguing that the only way to inject some fairness into the system is to award school places on a ‘lottery’ basis and others adamant that admissions based on catchment area should remain, there is unlikely to be any consensus on the correct approach any time soon.

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