Parents should get more choices on school application forms

Parents should get more choices on school application forms

According to new research, more families would be able to get their preferred secondary school if there was a bigger list of choices when applying for places.

As reported by Tes, a new study conducted by researchers at the universities of Bristol and Cambridge, suggests that parents who can only give a small number of options are more likely to “play it safe” and pick school that they believe they have a better chance of gaining a place.

Currently, under England's school admissions system, parents are asked to list around three to six secondary schools they would like to attend in order of preference.

Schools are then allocated a place based on availability of places and admission criteria.

The study looked at data on over half of a million pupils who started at an English secondary school in 2014.

It suggests that parents may have incentives under the current system to list schools that are not really their preferred options, to avoid being allocated to a school that simply has spare places.

This year, 83.5 per cent of pupils secured a place at their first choice and 94.6 per cent got one of their top three.

Families that make more choices, on average, receive a place at schools with higher GCSE results, it says.

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