Eleanor Busby mentions today’s new Sutton Trust survey of parents in an article for the Independent.
Nearly a third of middle-class, professional parents personally know someone who has used “ethically dubious” tactics to get their children into a good school, a new report has found.
Buying or renting a second home – or using the address of a relative – near to a desirable school are some strategies that parents use to get their preferred school place, the Sutton Trust survey reveals.
Common practices cited by parents include attending church services (31 per cent) to get a place in a faith school – which the report calls “highly morally questionable” – and appealing against admissions decisions (29 per cent) to get their first choice school.
The new report has revealed that better-off parents are much more likely to know other parents who have used dubious practices to game the system.
One in five parents from the top social group know someone who has bought or rented a new home in the catchment area of a good state school, compared to just 6 per cent in the lowest social class, according to the poll of more than 1,000 parents of schoolchildren.
A mother-of-two, who wished to remain anonymous, decided to rent a house in north London very close to the state primary school that she wanted her oldest son to attend to ensure he got a place.
She said: “I met quite a few people who did renting in name only and they didn’t actually move. I also came across people who said they were separated so they had a different address.”
On her decision, the mother said: “We encountered quite a lot of hostility. My friends say it was the privilege of the wealthy to have that choice to be able to do that. They are totally right, it was.”
Parents in the top social group are almost four times as likely to say they know someone who has paid for private tuition to pass an entrance test – and their children are more likely to take part in extra-curricular activities, like music lessons, language classes, sports and performing arts clubs
Sir Peter Lampl, founder of Sutton Trust, said: “Parents from all backgrounds and walks of life want to do the best for their children. Those with money, education and confidence are more able to give their children the best possible chance of succeeding.
“Middle-class and professional parents gain an advantage for their children at every turn. They do this by buying homes in the catchment areas of good schools, paying for private tuition and out of school extracurricular activities, and providing support with post-18 educational choices.