Up your street but not down your way

19th August 2005 at 01:00
Websites offering the public the chance to identify their ideal neighbourhood will increase school segregation, a report published this week suggests.

Increased availability of online data, including crime rates and social class, will make disadvantaged communities no-go areas for the middle classes and send their social life into a spiral of decline, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation study.

Modern sites such as www.upmystreet.com combine crime figures with property prices and information on the nearest schools, helping middle-class parents to maximise their chances of getting their children into the school of their choice.

Online descriptions of areas of the greatest poverty are likely to undermine the social life and well-being of certain localities, according to the report, which questions whether pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds can get a fair deal from the present secondary school admissions system.

Neighbourhoods on the net: The nature and impact of internet-based neighbourhood information systems, see www.jrf.org.uk

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