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Are admission policies working for all?

3 June 2014

Reports have highlighted the increased use of fair banding systems as part of schools’ admission arrangements can potentially lead to disadvantaged children missing out on places at those schools. Fair banding is used to ensure that the intake of a school is of mixed ability and relies on children wanting a place being able to sit a test that determines their place in a band. Testing arrangements vary from school to school and those which require testing outside the school day can disadvantage applicants where parents are not engaged in the process and do not sit the test.

The reports are generally supportive of fair banding but they recommend greater consistency in testing with one suggested solution being area wide tests for entrance to all schools which use banding. With the growth of autonomous schools and a focus on collaboration, this is an area on which schools can find common ground and ensure a 'quick win' in making admissions easier for parents to understand whilst maintaining a healthy balanced intake of children.

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