More Children Fail To Get Into Chosen Primary School

Opinion / January 14, 2016

The annual dose of primary school entry angst is among us. Children will be denied a place at primary school of choice. Some, potentially wealthier parents, will succeed in manipulating the system much to the frustration of the school involved and the parents and children  who have lost out as a consequence.

The cause of this mayhem is the absence of a sufficient number of good schools with adequate places to accept the growing numbers of applicants. The epicentre of the pain appears to lie in London. The consequences of the lack of planning, I recall writing about this very subject 10 years ago, has led to a deplorable situation that successive Secretary’s Of State for Education have ignored.

There are many factors at play.

  • The economic situation has prevented new schools being built
  • Increased number of children swapping from fee paying independent schools to state schools.
  • High turnover of teacher leaving the profession within two years of qualifying
  • High cost of living driving teachers from London catchment area.
  • Increased number of children from migrant families

There is no easy or quick solution. The time to resolve this explosion was  seven years ago when the statisticians predicted the situation. The resolution of the situation now requires £12 billion to provide 900,000 places in primary schools in England. It is no wonder some sharp practices have been emerged as parents ‘fight’ for the best place for their child. The result is many well deserving children are prevented from the education they deserve at a local school of their choice whilst a wealthy parent has elbowed a place. Around 12.5 per cent of all children will fail to gain entry into the school of their choice, and instead travel often a considerable distance. Head Teachers despair at both the tactics and the effort required attempting to control the situation, often with little sway in the decision.

The government appear pleased with the applications level to attend Academy schools. This is no result; the academies are filling partly due to the lack of choice and partly as testament to fact a academy can benefit by operating outside the direct control of the state. Maybe the government and the secretary of state for education need to go back to school, clearly their numbers are not adding up.





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