Bring back catchment areas

2nd December 2005 at 00:00
Why is it when it comes to secondary admissions, examples are always dredged up about a family who applied for six schools and were offered no places as if there is something wrong with the process ("Six secondaries later, still no room at the inn, TES, November 18).

Surely when parents consider schools they look at admission criteria? That means they are aware of their chances of being admitted to a particular school. There is no choice and can be no choice in admissions which will result in 100 per cent match. In the state sector parents can express a preference for a school(s). And that is as far as it goes.

Most express a preference with regard to factors including admission criteria and past experience. It is not surprising that in rural and sem-rural areas parents get their choice as there is often no alternative.

But in urban areas - particularly conurbations with schools of all persuasions - choice falls down.

The Government's latest proposals may increase the variety of schools but will not do anything for choice, especially if schools are responsible for their own admissions and decide on criteria for their ideal child. Schools will choose pupils rather than parents choosing schools. Bring back catchment areas, I say, and slay the dragon of choice!

Michael Carpenter

19 Advice Avenue

Grays, Essex

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