White paper will polarise schools

20th January 2006 at 00:00
As a parent and teacher, I believe the real issue about the white paper is being missed. It is not about schools developing their own admissions policies, but exclusion policies.

The white paper will inevitably take us further down the road where some schools are more, and some less, popular. Already there is evidence of selection by postcode.

Less popular schools are not always full so have room for children excluded from other schools. Currently local education authorities oversee this process, and the best of them work hard to share the more difficult children around.

But in the future, with schools independent of the LEA, more popular schools will be under pressure to exclude more difficult children.

Few parents or teachers I have met object to schools admitting children of a range of ability, social background, creed or colour. Most, however, do want to exclude children who disrupt the learning of others if the expertise and resources are not there to prevent this from happening.

It is my belief that, under the white paper, the rate of exclusion from popular schools will continue to rise, filling less popular schools with an imbalanced school population making them unmanageable.

Then what? They close - then what?

Owen Harris 43 Shadwell Road Bishopston, Bristol

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