Top state secondary schools are taking only half of poorer pupils compared to the average

High performing comprehensive schools in England, Scotland and Wales take only half the number of poorer pupils as the average school, according to new research by the Sutton Trust. iNews reports.

Analysing the number of children eligible for Free School Meals attending top state schools, researchers from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that in all three nations the best state schools’ intakes are markedly different from the average.

England, Scotland and Wales all have different admissions systems. 

While in England and Wales around half of the disadvantage gap is due to these schools being in more affluent areas. The rest is because the schools accept lower rates of disadvantaged pupils than their catchment area possibly through “covert” selection processes such as complex admissions criteria, appeals processes or transport issues. #

In Scotland the best Scottish schools are just as unrepresentative as those in England and Wales but this is mostly because they are located in more affluent areas and not down to selectivity within their catchment areas.

The Sutton Trust has called on changes to the admissions process to stop the disparity in educational provision and said that disadvantaged pupils should be given priority, especially where schools are oversubscribed.

It also recommends that local authorities, particularly in urban areas, introduce a ballot system to allocate a proportion of school places randomly. This measure, it suggests, could go some way in discouraging middle-class parents from buying up homes in the catchment areas of top schools.

The Sutton Trust has called on changes to the admissions process to stop the disparity in educational provision and said that disadvantaged pupils should be given priority, especially where schools are oversubscribed.

Read more Top state secondary schools are taking only half of poorer pupils compared to the average

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