Rising number of schools 'banding' pupils

The number of schools using lotteries of "banding" pupils by their ability during the admissions process is on the rise, according to research. The Sutton Trust found more schools were using this process to admit a mix of students.

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Calls for 'partnerships' for fairer pupil admissions

Schools should work together on the admissions process and adopt a "banding" approach to pupil selection in order to break through the flaws in the catchment area system, education campaigners have said.

The Sutton Trust, which found the banding system of separating pupils according to academic ability and then selecting a mix, called on more urban schools to adopt this approach.

We believe that more urban schools should use such methods, but for them to be most effective, they should develop them in partnership with other schools and local authorities.

A common fear of such approaches is that children living next door to a school may not get admitted.

It is possible to address such concerns by using an inner and outer catchment area, with those living closest to the school in the inner area, but access opened to a wider group of parents in the outer catchment.

This is an approach taken by some schools and academies already.

– Conor Ryan

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