Letters extra: Weighting in vain?

17th October 2003 at 01:00

Harry Brighouse is right to arguenbsp;for a low income weighting to fund schools ( Tricks for social mobility, The TES , 3.10.03 ).

Moreover as Peter Wilby points out in the same edition, the result of affirmative action - he proposes a top universities' quota of places for schools in deprived areas - could be to leaven the socialnbsp; mixture of schools by atracting middle class parents.

The Netherlands, which has long had a weighting systemnbsp;for poor children and immigrant children,nbsp; shows that the funding advantage has to be significant to make a difference.nbsp;Researchers in New York State estimated a minimum of 10 per cent extra per pupil.

My guess, as an ex-local authority schools funding officer, is that it needs to be closer to 20 per cent. I reviewed these issues in a research paper for the North of England conference in 1997.

Martin Yarnit ,
Whitbourne,
Worcester

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