25 May 2007

Education Lottery

A new survey claims to shed insight on how parents want places for over-subscribed schools decided, but omits any mention of the issue of academic selection that has so filled the news since David Willetts made his speech on expanding Labour's Academy Schools programme almost two weeks ago.

Commissioned by the Sutton Trust education charity two months ago, in the heat of the controversy over allocation of secondary school places by random ballot, the Mori poll found a surprisingly high proportion of parents unable to state whether they believed different methods of allocating places were fair or not:

Method to allocate placesFairUndecidedUnfair
Distance from school52%39%9%
Children with siblings at the same school42%51%7%
Random ballot9%63%28%
Religion or faith8%52%40%

Maybe the pollsters were working on the assumption that the Conservatives will easily deliver "a 'grammar stream' in every subject, in every school." However, given that the Party has not yet been able to do so, perhaps next time Mori conduct such a poll we'll find out what percentage of parents believe a child's schooling should be determined by merit... For, to quote the chairman of the Sutton Trust, "No child's educational future should be left purely to chance."