A look at how the school allocation process in the UK is failing some children and their parents.
It is easy to condemn the parents in the UK up in arms over the fact they have not secured their first choice of school for their child.
On the surface this issue seems to be very much fuelled by ego as parents appear obsessed with making sure their children are attending a school placed high in the league tables.
There is the idea that children are unable to get a decent education anywhere but at the highest rated schools in the country and if they are forced to settle for their child attending anywhere else, then their child’s future is doomed for failure even before they have begun. Never mind what these parents are going to tell their other high-flying friends when they reveal their child is at a school halfway down the league.
The element of competition in today’s society is so rife that parents seems unable to look past league tables even when deciding which primary school or nursery their child should attend.
However, looking at the issue more closely there is every reason a lot of these parents should be complaining. The school allocation process appears to be deeply flawed and, as with too many areas of society these days, is being driven by bureaucracy to the point that these potential school pupils are no more than names on a piece of paper. No thought is being given to their own individual needs, and those of their parents.
The most stark example of this is under the current school allocation system there is no consideration given to where these children’s siblings are attending school. It used to be enough that if a parent had one child at a certain school they would be given preference for a place for their other children at this school. Today this is not enough of a reason apparently. This has left some parents in the situation where they are having to try and collect two children from two separate schools in two different areas at the same time of day. This means inevitably one of these children is going to have to wait behind for their parent to pick them up late.
This will surely have a lasting effect on the child who is forced to watch as all their friends are picked up on time by their parents whilst they have to stay behind. They will become branded as the child who is never picked up on time and this could breed within this child feelings of insecurity and neglect.
Meanwhile, extra stress is being put on the parents who are now having to work their lives around having to pick up their children from different schools. More often than not one parent will be working and so it will be down to the other parent to pick up both children, or if it is a single parent family then there will be no option but for the one parent to drive or walk to two different schools as part of their daily school round. It is these perceived small inconveniences in life which can actually effect a person’s general well-being and happiness a lot more than perhaps others would realise.
Then there is the case of the mother who does not drive and is being forced to walk well out of her way to take her child to and fro to a school out of their immediate neighbourhood. This can sometimes amount to several miles of walking a day and in all weathers. If the mother has a younger child with her in a pushchair, then battling against the elements to get her child to school is nothing short of unfair.
Therefore, whilst in certain circumstances it is wrong for parents to complain about not securing a place for their child at their preferred school, there are parents who really would benefit from a much better school allocation system which looks properly into the case of each child. This would ensure that parents are not being forced into ludicrous situations which negatively impact on their everyday lives and would also bring a good dose of common sense back into the process, which currently seems to be absent.
Published in: Family