Head teachers claim school places system is broken
Applying for school places has become a highly-controversial topic in recent years, with an increasing number of applicants fighting for limited places and many not getting into their school of choice; now, education experts believe that the school places system in England is broken, which could compromise a child’s education.
New reports reveal that the system in England for creating new school places is confusing and fragmented. According to the National Association of Head Teachers, a lack of cohesion in local planning results in new schools not always opening in places with the most need. With huge pressure on school places, many applicants are put on waiting lists with no offer of a place. When children do get a place, they are often crammed into overcrowded classrooms.
Parents are also struggling to make sense of the application process, which is regarded as confusing and hard to interpret. According to the Times Educational Supplement (TES), many schools were flouting the rules over the consultation and publication of admissions arrangements. Some school admissions policies were not readily accessible when they should be, with academies and faith schools often having complicated admissions arrangements. Instances of application fraud have also risen in the last few years.
Impact on children
When children can’t get into their desired school of choice, or they are being put into super-sized classrooms, it can have an impact upon their education. What can parents do? Parents have a right to express a preference for a particular school and if there are enough places, the local council or school should accommodate this.
Understanding the applications procedure and providing the correct and requested information can help to ensure a smooth application process.
To counteract large class sizes, some parents are even helping to teach their children themselves, especially seeking to help children who struggle to read. Parents can help children who struggle to read with mywordbuddy or other learning tools, ensuring youngsters are getting the vital one-on-one support they need.
The Department for Education argues that the situation is not all doom and gloom, however. It states that 95% of parents received an offer at one of their top three preferred schools last year, infant class sizes had remained stable, and more funding was being put in place for new schools.