Allocating Secondary School Places: A study of policy and practice

Sandra Jowett

01 September 1995

This research looked at how parents are involved in decisions about which secondary school their children will attend, and their levels of satisfaction both with the allocation of school places and (where appropriate) the appeals procedures. It also investigated how local education authorities (LEAs) provide information to parents and the procedures they have established to allocate places and deal with the subsequent appeals. The role of school staff at the time of transfer was also of interest.

The findings highlighted the various admission arrangements in use and the very different circumstances that pertain in different areas (sometimes within the same LEA). Most parents said that they were satisfied with the procedures and the outcome, although it was clear that there were no easy answers to some of the dilemmas raised by open enrolment policies. For many parents the allocation of secondary school places for their children was not an issue of sustained concern; for others it was a key determinant of their level of satisfaction with the education service their received. This report should be of interest to all those involved in the transfer to secondary school, including parents, teachers, LEA staff and governors.

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