ASCL comment on national offer day

02/03/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on national offer day for secondary school places on Monday 2 March.
 
Commenting on national offer day for secondary school places on Monday 2 March, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

While the majority of families will be receiving the good news that they have been offered their first choice for a secondary school place, there will be some who will be disappointed. Last year, the number of families denied their first preference increased, and it may do so again this year, as rising births since 2002 continue to move into secondary level.

There are generally enough school places, although there may be particular pressures in some areas. The main issue, however, is caused by the fact that many families apply for oversubscribed popular schools and, as pupil numbers continue to increase in the secondary phase over the next few years, this will intensify. The situation is particularly iniquitous for disadvantaged families who do not have the spending power to buy or rent houses in the catchment area of these schools. 

The Sutton Trust social mobility charity plans to develop guidance for schools on how we can make the admissions system fairer and we welcome that initiative. But we must also do more to support schools which face the greatest degree of challenge, so that every child has access to a good school place wherever they live.