This blog post on CMPO’s website (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/blog) gives an overview of our latest research into school admission reforms in Brighton and Hove.
via CMPO Viewpoint
This piece provides an overview of several pieces of work on the themes of secondary school admissions policies and processes, the social and religious composition of schools, and social segregation across schools. It is important to note that the research used data obtained prior to the 2006 Education and Inspections Act and the 2007 School Admissions Code.
If schools are socially segregated it means children from low income families are concentrated in one or two schools in an area, thus being separated from more affluent pupils who tend to be concentrated in other schools. Academic research measuring levels of social segregation in English schools has generally focused on the unevenness in the distribution of pupils who are eligible for free school meals (FSM), using this as a proxy for social disadvantage. Where FSM pupils are evenly distributed across schools in an area so that each school has exactly the same proportion of its pupils eligible for FSM, i.e. its ‘fair share’, we can say that there is zero segregation.
School choice researchers in England were concerned that the policies of 1988 onwards would give schools both the motivation and the means to select the most able and avoid admitting educationally disadvantaged pupils to their schools, thus producing socially divided schooling. As a society we should be concerned about socially divided schooling because it is likely to increase inequalities in academic achievement and threaten social cohesion.