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Title: Mobility and school choice in England
Author: Wilson, Joan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 9203
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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State sector education policy in England aims to deliver raised standards of attainment and equality of educational opportunity through offering fair access to schools for all pupils from any background. Two initiatives of 'school choice' and `school improvement' have been specifically introduced for this purpose. Choice policies came about in the late 1980s. They propose to provide equal access through breaking the historical geographical link between the home and the school attended. Pupils can apply for admission to any preferred school from their current home location. An equal distribution of better standards in education is thought to be achieved through the scheme's creation of school competition for pupils. Improvement strategies took off in the early 2000s under the Academies Programme. The initiative targets the re-emergence of low-performing schools as viable competitors for pupils through a process of institutional reform. It aspires to raise standards and equality by providing more opportunities for all pupils to have access to better-quality schools. The National Pupil Database is an administrative annual census of state school pupils that allows enrolment-related activity in schools to be tracked. It is used here to address whether fairness is an outcome of the two education policies. Evaluation considers (i) if pupils of differing backgrounds gain access to popular primary schools without moving home under the choice system and; (ii) if failing secondary schools that convert into Academies remain accessible to all pupils. Evidence indicates that the connection between the school attended and home location persists partly because entry rules by popular schools reinstate school-home proximity as an admissions criteria. Meanwhile, there is exclusivity in entry to Academies, with proportionally fewer underprivileged, low-ability pupils featuring in the renewed schools. These outcomes suggest that education policy has a long way to go if fair access to schools is to be achieved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available