For more years than I care to remember, parents have tried to contrive the school that their children will attend. In the Telegraph today is an article on how the Government may tackle this (Middle-class-to-lose-its-grip-on-best-state-schools).
The idea that pupils will be divided into 5 bands and that schools would then have an equal amount of pupils from every band seems, in my view, to be very fair.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out, as this is a good example of ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. This could work effectively in large towns and cities with multiple schools. However, I can foresee a problem in smaller communities.
For instance, when my children were younger we lived in Newhaven, Sussex. The population is approximately 12,000. It has one Secondary School (Tideway, with approx 650 pupils), although there are also schools at Seaford and Peacehaven (approx 3 miles in either direction). Seaford and Peacehaven would take a very limited number of pupils from Newhaven. In effect there was only one choice of school.
Therefore I fail to see how banding could work in this instance.
Probably the best solution would be multiple school intake policies depending on location. Although this would have to be structured to avoid postcode lottery once more.
The answer of giving the choice to school boards or headmasters may work, perhaps there should be a range of selection policies which could be taken up by schools in local areas.
I do agree that there needs to be a fair selection system and can see that there needs to be rules, but how those rules could be manifested seems to be a very difficult balancing act.
The main point of focus should be that there is a child at the bottom of this, who should be given the best chance possible to get the best education for their needs, regardless of social status.