Call for private schooling for all

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Two in five parents think every child should have the chance to go to private school, regardless of their family’s income, suggests a Sutton Trust survey.

Many other mums and dads are in favour of at least some state school places being allocated randomly, or by ballot.

The findings are part of a survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust, for its new “mobility manifesto”, which sets out a series of recommendations ahead of next year’s General Election on how to make sure all children have the same opportunities, regardless of background.

It says there needs to be fairer admissions to comprehensive, grammar and fee-paying schools when pupils are age 11, including through more use of ballots and banding, especially in urban areas that are over-subscribed.

Research has shown that England’s top performing comprehensives and academies are significantly more socially selective, with fewer pupils than average on free school meals – a key measure of poverty, the manifesto says.

Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "Fairness in school admissions is absolutely vital, and is becoming increasingly difficult as the range of school types increases.

"While allocating places by ballot may seem fairer, it will make admissions to oversubscribed schools even more complex and is likely to lead to parents who are unsuccessful feeling their child is attending a 'second best' school."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We strongly agree that all children, regardless of background, should have the same chance to get on in life.

"We want all children to be able to go to a good local school and, as a result of our plan and the hard work and dedication of thousands of teachers who have put it into action, more children have the chance to go to a good or outstanding school today than ever before."

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