The Sutton Trust is urging fairer admissions to comprehensives, grammar schools and independent schools as part of a 10-point Mobility Manifesto setting out ten practical policy steps designed to put social mobility at the heart of the 2015 election campaign.
The manifesto urges greater use of ballots (random allocation) or ability banding for fairer admissions, particularly in urban schools that are oversubscribed. It also says that all schools should be encouraged to use the powers in the revised admissions code to give priority to pupils entitled to the pupil premium. The manifesto also calls for a significant increase in good quality apprenticeships for young people, ring-fenced funding to support the most able state school pupils and pupil premium cash incentives for schools to narrow the attainment gap between their richest and poorest students.
- Ensure all disadvantaged children can access the best early years education and care. In particular, all disadvantaged two year-olds should have access to nursery places with well qualified staff.
- Make improving the quality of classroom teaching the top priority in schools, with effective appraisals and a guaranteed entitlement to good quality training for all teachers.
- Create fairer school admissions to both state grammar schools and comprehensives at age 11, including through the increased use of ballots and banding in admissions.
- Improve the impact of the pupil premium through greater use of evidence provided by the Education Endowment Foundation and incentives for schools that narrow the attainment gap.
- Develop an effective national programme for highly able state school pupils, with ring-fenced funding to support evidence-based activities and tracking of pupils’ progress.
- Strengthen academies’ support for low and middle income pupils by regular inspection of chains, publication of more data across chains and speedier interventions where academies are not working.
- Break down barriers between state and private schools, by promoting more partnership working and opening 100 leading independent day schools to all on the basis of ability rather than ability to pay.
- Provide every young person with an entitlement to good quality personalised education and careers guidance, strengthening the national careers service to support schools and colleges effectively.
- Introduce a new body, separate from individual universities, for the effective coordination of evidence-based outreach programmes, backed by more use of contextual admissions to improve access.
- Greatly expand the number of good apprenticeships so that young people have real options at 18 and employers can develop the skilled workforce they need.