Comments on the White Paper – ‘the only way to expand parental choice is to stop schools choosing”
David Chaytor MP Chair of Comprehensive Future said –Since 1997, by design or default, our admissions system has become gradually more selective. This White Paper could mark a turning point towards a system in which parents really can choose their preferred school. If the rhetoric is to be turned into reality, however, effective legislation will be needed.’
Fiona Millar Patron of Comprehensive Future said – Comprehensive Future wants to see an education system fair to all parents, allowing all the opportunity to choose to send their children to a good local school.
Margaret Tulloch Secretary of Comprehensive Future said – Ruth Kelly is reported to want to find ways to ensure more parents are able to exercise choice – the only way to do that is to stop schools choosing. Comprehensive Future will be urging all supporters of comprehensive education to seize the opportunity of the debate on the White Paper and the subsequent legislation to press for change.
Comprehensive Future was set up in 2003. Its aims are –
- a comprehensive secondary school system throughout England, with fair admissions criteria to all publicly funded schools, guaranteeing an equal chance to all children,
- an end to selection,
- legislation on admissions operating in the interests of all children, not in the interests of institutions keeping their place in what has become a pecking order of schools. Children matter. The Government has recognised this in its Every Child Matters agenda,
- foundation schools and voluntary schools, like community schools, to be unable to set their own admission criteria. This is particularly important if all schools are to be ‘independent’ of LEAs. No school should manage its own admissions. Responsibility for admissions should be given to an independent body outside the schools with a remit to ensure the system is fair to all parents.