01 March 2007

Gambling With Our Children's Future

Hot on the heels of yesterday's controversial announcement by Labour-run Brighton and Hove Council to allocate places at some secondary schools by lottery, today's Guardian reports that Hertfordshire County Council is also to introduce an electronic random ballot for this year's admissions to its single-sex schools.

Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts is right to observe that this approach will do nothing to raise standards. The Government needs to focus on improving standards and performance, not on social engineering.

A bizarre consequence of what some are describing as an education class war is that children will be forced to travel further each day and will live further from their friends, adding to traffic congestion, increasing pollution, and further severing the ties that bind local neighbourhoods together. So much for good intentions to deal with each of these problems.