SCHOOL CHOICE, EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE CASE FOR MORE CONTROL
This paper focuses on school choice and the extent to which admissions to publicly-funded secondary schools in England address issues of equity and social justice. It argues that schools with responsibility for their own admissions are more likely than others to act in their own self interest by ‘selecting in’ or ‘creaming’ particular pupils and ‘selecting out’ others. Given this, it is argued that individual schools should not be responsible for admissions. Instead, admissions should be the responsibility of a local authority (or non-partisan body); this body should make decisions about who should be allocated to which school on the basis of the expressed wishes of the parents, and the admissions criteria of the school in question. Admissions criteria should be objective, clear and fair and the admissions system itself should address issues of equity and social justice. It is argued that systems where there are some ‘controls’ on the choice process should be facilitated to address equity and social justice considerations which can benefit individuals and communities.