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ERIC Number: ED559241
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 44
Banding and Ballots: Secondary School Admissions in England: Admissions in 2012/13 and the Impact of Growth of Academies
Noden, Philip; West, Anne; Hind, Audrey
Sutton Trust
This report provides key findings from a two part research project funded by the Sutton Trust and the London School of Economics & Political Science, (LSE) focusing on secondary school admissions in England. The research analyses secondary schools' admissions criteria and practices in England in 2012/13 and illustrative examples of how some local authorities and schools use pupil banding as part of the Year 7 admissions process. The report provides a brief overview of the historical and policy context relating to secondary school admissions, identifying in particular the latent concerns regarding academic selection persisting from the transition from a selective to a comprehensive system and during the period of the educational quasi-market since 1988. Previous research has suggested that a significant minority of secondary schools, and in particular those responsible for their own admissions, used a variety of oversubscription criteria that could be socially selective. Oversubscription criteria was examined used by 3,001 publicly-funded secondary schools in England. Findings relating to secondary school admissions for 2012/13 show that there have been some changes since 2008. Virtually all schools now give top priority to children in local authority care, in accordance with legislation. Most of the changes from 2008 to 2012 reflect an increase in the objectivity and transparency of oversubscription criteria. Key findings include the following: (1) The growth in the number of sponsored academies has not led to a corresponding increase in the use of selective oversubscription criteria; (2) Distance and sibling criteria remain the predominant oversubscription criteria for non-selective state schools; (3) There has been a slight increase in the number of schools that use partial selection by aptitude (from 133 schools (5%) to 155 schools (6%) between 2008 and 2012); (4) A minority of schools with a religious character do not use religious oversubscription criteria although most do use measures of religious adherence for admission; and (5) Grammar schools use a similar range of oversubscription criteria to non-selective schools although of course applicants must meet their initial entrance requirements (including tests of ability). Recommendations by Sutton Trust include the following: (1) More schools, particularly in urban areas, should take the opportunity where they are responsible for their own admissions to introduce random allocation (ballots) or banding to ensure that a wider mix of pupils has access to the most academically successful comprehensives; (2) The most effective use of banding is when cooperative agreement can be reached between schools in an area; (3) Schools that wish to achieve a comprehensive intake should use banding, or random allocation, in conjunction with a catchment area, as these admissions policies can help schools to achieve an intake reflecting a wide ability range; (4) Where banding is used, a common test should be developed for all schools in an area so that pupils don't have to sit multiple tests; (5) The Government should find ways--working with community groups, consumer agencies and businesses that are successful in working class communities--to make it easier for all parents to access as rich a range of information to facilitate informed choice-making over their children's education; and (6) It is particularly important that parents are aware not just of the school choices available, but of their rights to free transport to a choice of three schools within six miles of their home (or up to 15 miles for faith schools) if their child is eligible for free school meals. An appendix contains two additional tables.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: London School of Economics & Political Science, Centre for the Economics of Education; Sutton Trust (England)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)