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December 21, 2008 / C H Thompson

The problems with selection – admissions policies

school-childrenThe problems with any form of selection there will always be winners and losers. Yet the 11+ examination is seen by some people as a useful way of identifying who will be the more able person in later life.

TASK – Identify as many problems as you can with 11+ selection. Once you’ve done that compare your findings with mine in the presentation below.

Similarly there are still numerous problems caused by the 1988 Education Act. Many of these problems might not be as apparent as those with the 11+ selection process.

TASK – Try and identify as many problems that came from the marketisation of education. Once you’ve done that compare your findings with mine in the presentation below.

As you found the selection process with the 1988 Education Act was an unintended consequence of the Act. However there still remain more visible forms of selection within the education system and this is known as a school’s admissions policy.

Admissions policies decide which school a child goes to. They are based on:

Ability – We have already looked at admissions policy by ‘ability’ this is through entrance exams like the 11+ which benefits the middle-classes

Religion – some schools like St Peters select on the basis of parents’ religious faith. Unfortunately faith criteria can disguise discrimination. For example the middle-classes tend to have a stronger affinity to adopting a faith.

Catchment area – as we’ve already seen the middle-classes are more able to move house into a better catchment area. This is sometimes known as ‘school selection by mortgage’

Parental choice – by getting parents to drive-up standards by sending their children to better schools, this has distorted admissions procedures as the middle-classes all congregate around the better schools at the expense of the working-classes.

To conclude what is evident, is any admissions procedure is fraught with problems as the middle-classes make certain they benefit most which is evident in this clip and this one

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