LETTER FROM JADE UKO, TIMES & CITIZEN 24 APRIL
Primary and lower school places have been announced nationally this week with many, including my own child, missing out on first choice of school.
Choice in the education system is an interesting concept; schools are now competing against each other and diverting resources in the meantime. Even family budgets are stretched with parents moving into catchment areas to try to secure school places.
The offers letter contains a key helping to navigate the minefield of different types of school, six in all. From Academy to Voluntary Aided School, choice is in abundance. Even more stressful for Bedford parents is the choice between a primary or lower school. A parent has to think strategically about the likelihood of a local middle school remaining open, as this may affect the choice between a primary and secondary. And yet I cannot help feeling that for all this choice, the only real desire of parents is a school which offers good quality, local education.
The complex system of parental choice and subsequent rejections only serves to make parents feel guilty if they fail to get their child into a desired school and lowers the reputation and esteem of other schools in the process. All children deserve a good quality education. When will Michael Gove will realise education is not a marketplace and that free schools are not the Holy Grail answering all our academic prayers? Thankfully we could avoid that particular choice at primary level in Bedford. Supply and demand economics always means losers and this is unacceptable in our schools system.
So my child missed out on my ‘first choice’. And I am just as happy with my ‘second choice’ school. As one of the ‘losers’, I refuse to be drawn into this particular struggle. I will continue to promote and push for quality, local education for all.