Top state schools inadvertently favour the rich

Posted by Tom Walker in

Intense competition for the best state schools is inflating house prices by as much as £500,000 in those schools' catchment areas, according to a report printed by Lloyds Bank. Lloyds states that, "there's strong competition for properties in areas where state schools are providing top quality education, often in locations with limited supply, which is supporting [house] prices."

Parents who can afford such prices are moving into these areas to ensure that their children receive the best state education, resulting in the exclusion of those pupils from less advantaged homes, whose parents are unable to pay their way into these catchment areas. Consequently, the principle of state schools as being a free and accessible source of education for all is being largely undermined. Conor Ryan, director of research at education charity the Sutton Trust, noted that, "this research confirms that access to the best state schools is too often linked to family income ... where comprehensive schools prioritise proximity in admissions, they close off access to many who can't afford the high house prices." He advises that schools should adhere to a "fairer admissions policy" whereby they randomly allocate pupils and give priority to those from poorer backgrounds.

Beaconsfield High School in Buckinghamshire is ranked among the top five states schools across the UK and reports show that parents in the school's catchment area are paying 154% more for their homes compared to nearby towns. Properties near the prominent state schools in the southeast are paying 27%, or £72,000, more than the national property average.

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