The processes for allocating places at secondary schools in England are perennially controversial. Providing integrated coverage of the policy, practice and outcomes from 1944 to 2012, this book addresses the issues relevant to school admissions arising from three different approaches adopted in this period: planning via local authorities, quasi-market mechanisms, and random allocation. Each approach is assessed on its own terms, but constitutional and legal analysis is also utilised to reflect on the extent to which each meets expectations and values associated with schooling, especially democratic expectations associated with citizenship.
Repeated failure to identify and pursue specific values for schooling, and hence admissions, can be found to underlie questions regarding the ‘fairness’ of the process, while also limiting the potential utility of judicial responses to legal actions relating to school admissions. The book adopts an interdisciplinary approach which makes it relevant and accessible to a wide readership in education, social policy and socio-legal studies.
“This timely and original book examines crucial issues surrounding secondary schools admissions policies and the extent to which they are socially just. Admissions policy has become a new battleground in education and the book reviews the legal and political factors and the values underpinning past and current policy. Discussion of issues relating to social justice, and equality of worth, opportunity and outcome lead to a conclusion that the current system continues to produce a hierarchy of successful and less successful schools, which neither increases social mobility nor is socially just.” Sally Tomlinson, Department of Education, University of Oxford
Mike Feintuck is Professor of Law at the University of Hull. He is the author of Accountability and Choice in Schooling, The Public Interest in Regulation and Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law.
Roz Stevens worked at the Centre for Educational Leadership at the University of Manchester before completing a PhD at the University of Hull on New Labour’s Academies policy and its relationship with democratic values and constitutional practice.
The admissions question; The changing policy context; The rise and fall of the planning model; Admissions in a quasi-market: policy developments 1988-2012; The realities of choice and accountability in the quasi-market; Admission by lottery; Synthesis and conclusions.