One school, four catchment areas

University of Birmingham
The Birmingham school has four separate locations for measuring distance for admissions

One school, four catchment areas? Would that be a fairer way of running admissions or a recipe for an even more Byzantine way of prioritising applications?

The rising school population is putting more pressure on places at popular schools - and raising the thorny question of school admissions.

The most common way of prioritising applications is how close pupils live to a school.

But where you live is inextricably linked to income, and sought-after schools can end up with catchment areas that are tight halos of inflated property prices.

A major study last year suggested that using distance from home to school to decide admissions was one of the biggest drivers of social division in the school system.

Bucking the housing market

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Nicky Morgan: Olive branches or burning bridges?

Nicky Morgan can now stamp her own identity as education secretary

When Nicky Morgan became education secretary last year her biggest strength and biggest problem were the same thing - not being Michael Gove.

Her predecessor had cast a long shadow, having dominated the education landscape and in many ways re-made it in his own likeness.

Read full article Nicky Morgan: Olive branches or burning bridges?

Why can’t the world keep its promises?

open air classroom
Open-air classroom in Guinea in 2001: Even such basic education is still unavailable to millions

In April 2000, in a wave of new millennium optimism, world leaders promised to deliver something at the beginning of the 21st Century that in many developed countries had been taken for granted by the end of the 19th Century:

Primary education for all children.

Read full article Why can’t the world keep its promises?

Why is teaching the most unionised job?

Teachers' strike
Teachers are more likely to be in unions than transport staff or mine workers

Why is education the most unionised jobs sector in the UK?

More than transport, energy, health or mining, education has the highest level of union membership, according to the most recent government figures.

Read full article Why is teaching the most unionised job?

Free schools: Successful experiment?

Cameron in a free school
David Cameron wants to carry on with the formula of free schools and academies. But what's the difference?

When people argue about free schools, they're often not really arguing about free schools.

What they're arguing about is what they think free schools will become.

Read full article Free schools: Successful experiment?

Clever girls, stupid boys?

Gender keyboard

Clever girls, stupid boys. That's become something of a modern educational orthodoxy, as girls across the developed world are more likely to get top exam grades and university places.

The gap is so great that the UK's university admissions authority has warned that being male could soon be seen as a new form of social disadvantage.

Read full article Clever girls, stupid boys?

Parents lose their car paying price of university

Student loans

When you hear about someone getting their car repossessed, you wonder what kind of financial calamity must have hit them.

You might think about redundancy or illness. But not that their child has done really well and got into university.

Read full article Parents lose their car paying price of university

Are we missing the real student loan story?

Bank of Mum and Dad

When Labour finally shows its hand on tuition fees in England's universities it's going to be one of the biggest calls of the election campaign.

Whether Ed Miliband sticks with £9,000 or goes for a cut to £6,000 or a switch to a graduate tax it's going to trigger a blizzard of stories about student debt.

Read full article Are we missing the real student loan story?

Sean added analysis to:

School league tables branded a 'nonsense' amid changes

Should parents still trust the league tables, after all the claims that they are lost in a mire of confusion?

Head teachers and teachers have always disliked them - as they seem to boil down huge amounts of effort to a simplistic ranking.

Read full article School league tables branded a 'nonsense' amid changes

Did £9,000 fees cut applications?

University applications

When tuition fees in England's universities rocketed to £9,000 per year, applications plunged in the opposite direction.

Applications slumped by the biggest ever amount, down by about 40,000 in England when they were introduced in 2012. It looked like thousands of young people were going to be frozen out of higher education.

Read full article Did £9,000 fees cut applications?