Sutton Trust’s call for fairer admissions is only one part of the picture


Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to research from the Sutton Trust that found pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) are less likely to attend a top performing comprehensive school even if there is one in their area.


“We support the Sutton Trust’s call for a review of the school admissions code and agree this should consider requiring all schools to prioritise children eligible for the pupil premium. It is one of the proposals in our blueprint for a fairer education system. We also welcome the Sutton Trust’s plans for a fairer admissions campaign. But fairer access is not just about admissions practices. It is also about ensuring that all schools have the support and resources they need to provide a high-quality education wherever they are and whatever their context. Currently, we have an inspection system which often actively damages schools that face the greatest challenges by the application of negative ratings which make it more difficult to recruit staff and pupils. This means these schools are particularly badly affected by national teacher shortages and funding pressures which in turn makes improvement harder to secure.”