School Admission Rules

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School admission, especially for secondary schools, is a highly debated subject. Some schools are more popular than others, with teaching standard varying greatly depending on the school. Every parent wants the best for their child and wants them to gain a place at the school they consider the best. The whole process of school admission has been controversial.

In February 2007 the school admissions code came into practice. This prevents unfair practice and regulates the process of school admission, both for primary and secondary schools. It is now illegal to use parents' employments, financial situation, or marital status to determine which pupils they will accept and which they will not. However, schools still have the discretion to allocate places to those outside the catchment area based on ability and examination results.

The admission process generally works on location. There is a catchment area with pupils in theory allocated places depending on which catchment area they fall within. There are still many issues though, especially in areas where there are many schools, such as in large towns and cities. The process has often been referred to a ‘lottery'.

The debate over whether or not the system is fair still continues. Should schools be able to make decisions based on ability? It could be argued that those who struggle should go to the better schools as they are the ones who it could make a real difference to. Schools are already often accused of focussing on the better pupils to show they can generate excellent results, rather than the pupils who require more assistance to get good grades. If too much is based on ability it can mean many of the struggling pupils go to the same schools, meaning these schools go further down hill.

Being based purely on location can also be problematic. It means that those living in an area where a school performs less well are at a disadvantage just because of the area they live in. But then whoever goes to these schools are at a disadvantage, and somebody has to.

How ever school entrance is decided there are problems and some will be at a disadvantage. The only real solution is that all schools are of a high standard. If this was the case then the school a child goes to would not determine the grades that they leave school with. This is the only way that nobody will be disadvantaged. Everyone is entitled to the same level of education.

It is important that there are strict rules to decide who is entitled to a place at each school. The system need to be fair on all pupils, wherever they live and whatever the level of their academic ability. When all parents pay their taxes and all pupils will in the future, it is not acceptable that some receive a better education than others.

Andrew Marshall ©

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