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The first ever study to assess secondary school choices made across all households in England has shown that the system is unfair to households in areas where they are given fewer options on the application form, with these parents having to make "less ambitious" choices.
Whilst it was shown that most parents actively use the school choice system and 85% of households receive their first-choice school, the system's constraints still restrict education equality across England with parents who are allowed six options—compared to the more regular three—being afforded less caution in their choices.
Research - Oxford - Review - Education - Data
This new research, which has published in the Oxford Review of Education, looked at a two large data sets making up more than 526,000 pupils in England.
% - Parents - Number - Choices - Options
27% of parents make the maximum number of choices permitted and so having more options may be beneficial.
Almost twice as many choices are made in local authorities (LAs) where more choices are allowed.
Team - Universities - Cambridge - Bristol - Study
Conducted by a team from the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol, the study also investigated the extent to which parents actively use the school choice system and how use of this system varies across households and neighbourhoods.
Black or Asian families (or families of children with English as an Additional Language, EAL) make more use of the school choice system (41% of White British households only make one choice, compared to 17% of Asian households and 12% of Black households); prefer higher performing schools; and are far less likely to apply for their local school (only 27% of EAL students compared to 42% of non EAL pupils).
Difference - Number - Choices - Families - Households
There was almost no difference in the number of choices made by more and less affluent families. However, households in more affluent neighbourhoods were more likely to choose their closest school, perhaps reflecting the higher quality of their nearest school.
In addition, the study, which looked...
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