Schools ‘using dirty tricks’ in battle for sixth-form pupils

The Observer is claiming that schools desperate to encourage pupils to stay on for the sixth form are binning brochures sent by post-16 colleges, arranging school outings to coincide with open days at rival institutions and offering incomplete careers advice, according to members of the Association of Colleges…

Secondary schools that cater for pupils from 11 to 18 are engaging in an assortment of “protective measures” to ensure that they do not lose their students to colleges. A college principal, who wished to remain anonymous, said one school in the south-west arranged an ice-skating trip for pupils on the date of the local college’s open day. That school also failed to give out copies if the college’s brochures until after the deadline for applications to its own sixth form.

Schools are even deceiving pupils by “telling their students that the raising of the participation age means that you have to stay on at school”, when the pupils do have the choice of moving on to a college to do A-levels or vocational qualifications, according to Joy Mercer, the AoC’s director of policy.

The full scale of the tactics being deployed has been revealed in a survey of members of the AoC, which represents sixth-form colleges and colleges offering vocational courses…

Nine out of 10 members of the AoC said schools were trying to retain students for their own sixth forms and about half felt there was a lack of careers information for pupils from outside the secondary schools.

The survey found that 74% of the AoC’s 341 sixth-form and further education member colleges in England felt information, advice and guidance had worsened because schools want to keep the more academic students to bolster their performance tables, regardless of what is in the best interests of the individuals…

More at: Schools ‘use dirty tricks’ in battle for sixth-form pupils

Any recognise these tactics from their own/their child’s schools? Is all fair in love and war or do schools need to ensure pupils are properly exposed to all options, even if they might mean they leave the school? Please give us your thoughts and insights in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Ah, the beauty of choice that has been encouraged by ministers for years. It will mean that the best get better & vice versa

  2. wclou

    SchoolsImprove not surprised to hear this.What my students have been told from other institutions have been an interesting version of truth

  3. I can only agree that this is true.  I have come across this time and time again.  What on earth do the govt think will happen when funding is based on pupil numbers and effectiveness judged on Russell Group

  4. FionaTipper

    SchoolsImprove parents will have helped the students do research ahead of time, regardless of when brochures are handed out at school?

  5. Principal_RColl

    AoC needs to talk to the 11-18 school system rather than criticise it! Those in glass houses …!

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