What a lotta unfairness on schools

PUBLISHED: 11:43 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:43 06 May 2010

Hitchin Girls’ School is one of those using a lottery system

Hitchin Girls’ School is one of those using a lottery system

I M far from impressed with the lottery system now being used for same-sex schools in Hertfordshire. The notion of parental choice has been chucked out of the window and has been replaced with one of sheer luck, and money. There has been a lot said in rec

I'M far from impressed with the lottery system now being used for same-sex schools in Hertfordshire.

The notion of parental choice has been chucked out of the window and has been replaced with one of sheer luck, and money.

There has been a lot said in recent years about parents buying a house close to a school which they want to send their child to. This, say critics, is a way of squeezing out poorer families and driving up house prices.

Although there must be some truth in this, I cannot see that being the case for every child who attends a good school. I think that is wide of the mark.

But no matter, thanks to the new Hertfordshire County Council scheme those youngsters not in one of the main priority categories could be forced to accept an almightily unfair hand.

Parents are being told that when the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available, and when the priority groups have all been given places, the remaining free spaces will be allocated by what can only be called a lucky draw.

For example if a family lives just outside the main priority area of, say, Hitchin Boys' School, but is still 700 metres closer to this school than another in Letchworth GC, it does not matter any more.

They could so easily be forced to send their child to this second school because their name wasn't picked out in the draw.

This forces the child to make two separate bus journeys to get there - and this is happening to at least one family in Hitchin right now.

Never mind academic ability, never mind that his parents work and cannot drop him off each day at work, never mind that the child is the only one in his year at school who has not got a place at his local school.

That's the luck of the draw.

A few people contacted The Comet about the new system, but it seems that the only parents who were complaining were those who missed out - and that is pretty disheartening.

Not one parent whose child has been given a place at one of the same-sex schools has voiced disapproval, not to this newspaper anyway. It seems those parents are happy with their lot.

If they are lucky enough to get their name pulled out of a hat, why bother complaining. Let other people suffer, I'm all right Jack.

Surely not everybody who has been given a place at one of the schools without any hassle thinks it a good idea.

I wonder if people will be this quiet if the council eventually decides on using a lottery for all school admissions.


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