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Have we been here before?

There's a glorious sense of things coming full circle with all the chatter about banding kids by ability to equalise admissions. The long-defunct Inner London Education Authority used banding very successfully. After its abolition, the London schools places scramble started in earnest, and has arguably been the tail wagging the education policy dog ever since.

How many initiatives have been pioneered to solve what are effectively London problems suffered by government ministers and the influential?

Giving every school the full ability range could work wonders, though expect tales of middle-class kids being coached to do badly in tests, or housing booms on rundown estates. But to work it needs middle-class acquiescence and the current punitive tone - that such parents are fiddling the system - is counterproductive. In the short term, they must be wooed: longer term, all local schools must be good.

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