Schools fight dirty for pupils

25th February 2000 at 00:00
HOSTILE competition between colleges and schools for 16-year-olds shows no signs of abating, despite government attempts to attract more young people into further education, a new study claims.

Schools "browbeat" pupils into staying on, courting the more able for their "tonic effect" on league tables, and withholding information about local colleges. "Further education is not presented as an option," says John Eggleston, emeritus professor of education at Warwick University and co-author of Staying on a School - the Hidden Curriculum of Selection.

The study of attitudes at four comprehensives suggests that pupils are aware of schools' tactics and often prefer the vocational aspects of the FE curriculum.

However, by a combination of student guidance and an A-level-based curriculum, schools succeed in keeping an academically-committed cohort of sixth-formersfrom the upper end of the social spectrum, while effectively jettisoning troublemakers and under-achievers.

Research Focus, 26

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