Sunday, November 20, 2011

Schools' choices and school choice in England

In the U.S., charter schools are typically not allowed to be choosy: they often have to offer admission strictly by lottery. In England, there's controversy over religious schools, and the following story illustrates some of the issues.

Catholic school in new row over school admissions

"Coloma Convent Girls' School in Croydon was reported to the official admissions watchdog by the local diocese amid claims its entry rules are “discriminatory”.
The over-subscribed school – which is rated outstanding by Ofsted and regularly appears towards the top of league tables – gives more “points” to families who take part in parish activities.
But the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark complained that the system discriminated against single parents who were unable to find the time to take part in parish work.
It also said it was unfair on immigrants who did not share the same “tradition of community service” and struggled to provide written evidence of volunteering because English was not their first language.
The move comes after Diocese of Westminster shopped the hugely popular Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School to the admissions watchdog, complaining that its entry rules were too elitist and effectively penalised the less devout.

1 comment:

Sarah Johnson said...

Just for your information, after the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School changed its admissions criteria at the diocese's request, the proportion of children qualifying for free school meals (a standard measure of the proportion of low-income families at a school) actually went DOWN.
There is no scientific basis, relevant to the extremely multi-ethnic situation in inner London, for assuming that "only" indigenous middle-class families take part in parish volunteer work - a quick visit to any inner city parish would tell you that the opposite is true.