“All we want is a good local school”

CMPO Viewpoint

Rebecca Allen and Simon Burgess

Twoarticles in the Times Education Supplement (TES) last Friday nicely illustrate the debate on school choice and school competition.

The first reports results from the British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS), citing research by Sonia Exley, at the LSE, showing that most respondents thought that school choice was not a priority.

A familiar refrain in the school choice debate is that “all we want is a good local school”. There should be little doubt that this is indeed what most parents do want. We have used data from the Millennium Cohort Study to estimate the relative weights that parents place on the characteristics of primary schools. Unsurprisingly, school academic quality is positively valued, and distance between home and school is highly negatively valued. This makes a lot of sense: many parents have to make this journey four times a day. So, yes, people, do…

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