There is an article in today’s Guardian reporting on a poll of 12 local education authorities in England and finding that one-in-six children (15.8%) will miss out on their first choice secondary school.
Sounds bad, doesn’t it, until the statistic is turned around: the vast majority are getting places in their school of first choice.
In fact, the article goes on to say that less than 3% of pupils won’t be in any of their preferred schools. Or, in other words, 97% will.
Now, of course it’s disappointing for those who don’t get to go where they would have wanted but in a system that tries to match the number of pupils to the number of places with as little surplus (i.e. excess cost) as possible not everyone can get their first preference. It’s inevitable and, in itself, not especially newsworthy.
The real question is whether the possibility of getting to a first choice school – or, perhaps more crucially, a school they will enjoy and perform well as – is the same for all social groups or do some have “more choice” than others?
There is a wealth of material about this and you fill find many of them summarised here.
The Guardian article is here.