Michael Gove and his wife have chosen a state secondary for their daughter – the first time a Tory education secretary has opted for the maintained sector!
Beatrice, the education secretary’s 11 year-old daughter, has won a place at Grey Coat Hospital School, a Church of England comprehensive which was their first choice. A source reported that Mr. Gove and his wife were ‘delighted’ by the news, unsurprisingly perhaps as in 2011 there were over 1,100 applications for 151 places.
The decision will wrong-foot Labour MPs who have often attacked Conservatives for sending their children to private schools, the Telegraph reports, with chancellor George Osborne and universities and science minister David Willets both opting for the independent sector.
However, not every pupil enjoyed Beatrice’s success in this year’s National Offer Day, when councils across the country sent out letters to about half a million families, informing them about which secondary school their child will attend.
Following an increase in the number of 10 and 11 year-olds in the state education system, local authorities across England are reporting that fewer children have gained a place at their chosen secondary than ever before. Nationally, more than one-in-seven of them have missed out on their first choice, though this rose to at least 40% in London, 30% in Birmingham and 24% in Manchester. The situation is better in rural areas, with almost all pupils securing their first choice in Cumbria, Leicestershire, Cornwall Herefordshire and Norfolk.
The number of families failing to achieve their first choice of school will lead to a flood of appeals: “There appears to be more parents receiving unexpected news; stories of families for whom there was little doubt their children would get a place only to find out that due to local housing developments or other reasons that they did not,” said Graham Jones, an education consultant who helps families fight admission appeals.
Do you welcome the education secretary’s choice as a vote for state education? And what is the admissions situation in your school?