Four immediate observations about Michael Gove's comments
about school admissions today:
1. Why doesn't he actually publish the draft admissions Code, rather than talking about it all the time. It is now months overdue and should be accompanying the Education Bill through the Commons and Lords so that MPs and Peers know what they are voting for when the agree to a massive expansion of 'own admissions schools'.
2. The decision to expand a school rests with the governing body and I predict that the majority of popular schools will opt NOT to expand dramatically, mainly because they are usually popular partly due to their size. Moreover if they are in urban areas they probably won't have room, there won't be adequate capital funds available and current parents will almost certainly object. In my local area the local authority has been actively seeking primary schools that are prepared to expand to meet the need for new places. None have wanted to and in once case a forceful parental campaign was waged against it.
3. What happens to the pupils in the schools 'left behind' to contract and then close? It won't be a very pleasant experience for them to be in an institution which will almost certainly have a high turnover of staff and pupils, falling morale and be demonised in its local community. I suspect those children will also be the least well off. Their plight is unlikely to help raise standards overall.
4. If Mr Gove bothered to look at why those schools were unpopular, he would almost certainly find that the admissions criteria of other local schools were partly to blame. Either there will be covert or overt selection taking place , leaving the remaining schools with unbalanced intakes which are off putting to a lot of parents, or a preponderance of girls schools, leaving the supposed co-ed schools with too many boys.
All of which brings me back to point 1. We should be looking at admissions and how they affect the chances of both schools and pupils. But we can't do that until the new Code is published. Why won't the government let us see the detail?