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Teachers call for a ‘sea change’ in admissions policy

TEACHERS have called for a “sea change” in how the government handles school admissions after research showed growing demand for a fairer system from parents and workers.

A report released yesterday by the Sutton Trust on school admissions shows half of secondary state school teachers think segregation between children from different backgrounds is a problem.

The study also found 78 per cent of parents want state schools to go to greater efforts to integrate children.

And 64 per cent said schools should make a greater effort to bring in pupils from poorer backgrounds.

Sutton Trust chairman and founder Sir Peter Lampl said: “Our school system is highly socially segregated.

“Schools with well-off intakes sit alongside those with high levels of disadvantage, and low and moderate-income families are less likely to access the highest-performing schools.”

The report, which offers a number of suggestions for reforming a school admissions including admitting pupils based on their eligibility for free school meals, is released on the day most children are offered high school positions.

NEU general secretary Mary Bousted said: “Social segregation has lasting effects, letting down pupils and communities alike — often deep into adult life. School admission policies must be fair and decided at a local authority level.

“A decade of Conservative governments has led to a school system which is atomised, fractured and confusing. It is no wonder there has been a decline in teachers’ and senior leaders’ general understanding of the local and national picture.

“This disconnect is what leads to many schools with low numbers of disadvantaged pupils performing significantly better in league tables than their neighbours.

“If the government is serious about supporting the potential of all young people, then the sea change must start with them.”

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