Third of middle-class parents know someone who used ‘ethically dubious’ tactics to gain school place, report finds

Buying or renting a second home – or using the address of a relative – near to a desirable school are some strategies that parents use to get their preferred school place, the Sutton Trust survey reveals. The Independent reports.

Common practices cited by parents include attending church services (31 per cent) to get a place in a faith school – which the report calls “highly morally questionable” – and appealing against admissions decisions (29 per cent) to get their first choice school.

A mother-of-two, who wished to remain anonymous, decided to rent a house in north London very close to the state primary school that she wanted her oldest son to attend to ensure he got a place.

On her decision, the mother said: “We encountered quite a lot of hostility. My friends say it was the privilege of the wealthy to have that choice to be able to do that. They are totally right, it was.”

The report calls for more schools to introduce lottery-based admissions policies – so distance does not play such a big role – and it says poor pupils should be prioritised in oversubscribed schools. 

There are rising concerns among working-class parents about the recent trend of schools asking parents for “voluntary” financial contributions, the charity’s report also highlighted.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Requests for voluntary contributions have increased because schools are so cash-strapped. This is a sign of the severity of the funding crisis caused by the government’s under-investment in schools.”

Read the full article Third of middle-class parents know someone who used ‘ethically dubious’ tactics to gain school place, report finds

Have you used dubious tactics or do you know parents of your pupils who have? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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