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admissions lottery

28 February 2014

More schools and academies are using ‘lottery’ admissions systems in favour of the traditional geographical catchment areas. Whilst the aim, I am sure, is to ensure that access to top performing schools is not limited to those who can afford to live near the schools, a shift to this approach may place further burden upon a struggling admission appeals process.

Whilst the lottery method was favoured by the previous admissions code, the new code appears to be less supportive of this approach. One potential reason for this is that lottery allocation can result in children living next door to the school not securing a place, which is likely to have sparked mass appeals from those parents and children affected. One way to try and establish a greater mixed ability intake would be to use a ‘fair banding’ approach, alongside other oversubscription criteria. The downside to this approach is that the admissions process becomes much more complex and harder for parents to understand.

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