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Does Making Schools Compete For Pupils Bring More Benefit or Harm?

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Does Making Schools Compete For Pupils Bring More Benefit or Harm? I do not presume to answer the above question with a definitive answer but I will show you, the reader, a clear outline of the options and their possibilities and how the changes have progressed into today's educational system. The education reform act of 1988 set out to give parents the right to 'express a preference' to which school they felt it best to send their children. One implication that derived from the act was that schools were expected to take pupils up to a historically pre determined limit (their 1979 level of intake). This in turn brings to an end the catchment areas that had been the previous method of selection. A positive outcome that could come from the changes was that parents did not necessarily have to send their children to the nearest school. These choices were outlined to parents in the Parents Charter (DES 1991, DFE 1994) a copy of which went out to every household in Britain. Reasoning behind the charter was to work in tune with the consumer society we live in. One reason for this was as Sharon Gewirtz said in unit 3 some members of the government had "derided the comprehensive system from its 'dull conformity'" "'Real' choice, it was said, requires real diversity." It was felt that this was helped with the 1993 legislation that set up City Technology Colleges (CTCs) and grant-maintained (GM) ...read more.


Such a policy would presumably allow the school to produce better public examination results, by increasing the ability of its intake, but without actually improving its teaching.... A policy of improvement through selection of intake may make sense for a school in the market, but it is only cosmetic, not making any school more effective." Legislation seems to be offering the parents more choice and greater freedom in the education 'market' but the installation of performance league tables tells the parents the indicators that are important. The government still has ultimate control over the labelling of 'good' and 'bad' schools. They are in control of the criteria from which the performance is compared. Again, it is the affluent of society that can afford to move nearer to 'good' schools or to allow children that are accepted out of area to travel to them. Critics put forward the notion that the 'bad' schools would inevitably fail and possibly close, as all the better pupils would apply to the 'good' schools. This was outlined in the television programme A Hard Act to Follow which showed an area of Manchester where one secondary school had been very proficient in its marketing achievement and, as a direct result had been part of the cause that meant the opposite happening in a nearby school. Another factor is how the school is managed. "There is a strong interaction between values and management, for the choice of values will have important ramifications for the kinds of management adopted, just as the kind of management chosen will affect the implementation of those values held as most suitable or desirable." ...read more.


choices, there is little hope of getting your child into any of the schools you have chosen due to high population and low school places. This is true of the Weston area at present. I do realise the problem I have encountered is not nationwide however. In some areas, for example, they do have good example of parental choice and it has thrown up a very different perspective and argument. There seems to be a problem of "yuppie Land Rover brigade" of middle class parents ferrying their children miles to the best state schools it seems the teachers feel the rules for allocation are unfair and they want a return to the old system. Another objection raised was that league tables in England were potentially harmful due to the comparisons they illustrated. Brenda Wilson who is Head teacher of a primary school in Cambridge felt that parental choices meant unpopular schools could eventually become sink schools . All the arguments point to, in my opinion, a need for a middle ground between the two. Parents should have some say, teaching staff should have some say and most importantly of all the needs of the pupil should hold sway in the choices made. There needs to be an equality of provision that is not determined by league tables of sats results but of 'value added' learning. Perhaps if the government needs a league table then this is what it should be showing because only then will you have genuine guide to the best 'taught' schools and not just the school with the brightest students. ...read more.

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