From the BBC
The University of Birmingham School will have new buildings, a strong academic ethos and will benefit from links to the university and its staff and facilities.
And if it used a conventional admissions system, based on distance, it would be very likely to become a magnet for middle-class families and be accused of poaching pupils from existing schools.
But the school is actively trying to do something different.
It is basing its admissions for 11-year-olds on how close families live to four "nodes" across the city. One of these will be the school site in Selly Oak and the other three are in Small Heath, Hall Green and the Jewellery Quarter.
And that will make little difference.
I went to an all-boys school. It's a school that did really well. It was based in quite a nice bit of town, so had lots of boys from the nice areas nearby going there, but as it was also an all-boys school, it also had a catchment area of the whole of town. I knew boys who lived 4 miles away who caught a bus there.
Personally, I thought the school was quite good. There were a number of excellent teachers, and a few duffers. But looking back on it, most of the kids did about as well as their background. Sending poor kids to what was thought an excellent school, with the best results in town, didn't seem to do anything for them. They still left with maybe a reasonable CSE in metalwork and not much else. The sixth form was mostly stuffed with the middle-class kids.
And I've seen this with one of our neighbour's kids. These people aren't rich, but the dad works really hard. The daughter went to a school that's not well regarded and is now doing Maths at university. The eldest son is on track for really good A levels from the same school. How come these kids do well, and there's so many other failures out of that school?
The other thing of note is that good schools are nearly always in "nice" places. Either in large, middle-class villages, or in leafy suburbs. You never find a new school being created in a modern estate that does any better than any other school in a modern estate.
So, how much is a school about the teaching, and how much about the intake? And if it's about the intake, what do you do?
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
From the BBC
My latest blogpost: School Catchment AreasTweet this! Posted by The Stigler at 23:31