Selection by stealth to exclude pupils from disadvantaged background rife in the system

Commenting on the new research brief ‘Caught Out’ from the Sutton Trust, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“The Report’s findings come as no surprise to the NASUWT. We have been raising year-on-year our deep concerns about the fairness of the current system.

“There is a national admissions code which applies to all schools which is supposed to make sure that admissions are as fair as possible. However, the increasing fragmentation of the system as a result of Government policy has removed robust oversight and scrutiny of this Code.

“The consequence is that there is now ‘selection’ rife in the system, with those from the poorest backgrounds being disadvantaged.

“This has been compounded by the fact that key provisions and safeguards in the admissions code have been removed or diluted by the Government, with much of it now being ‘non-statutory’, meaning that schools are not required to follow it.

“Consequently we now have selection by stealth, as practices are introduced which are designed to deter children from socio-economically deprived backgrounds with increasing numbers of  parents unable to secure a place in their local school.

“In the NASUWT’s most recent Cost of Education Report, an annual survey of parents, almost a quarter of parents said that their choice of school was influenced by the prohibitive costs of some schools in relation to, for example, uniform, books and equipment, educational visits and school meals.

“As a result of Government policy, children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are being denied the entitlements they should expect from a public education system.”