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Articles on School choice

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Who gets to go to a free school? Tim Ireland/PA Archive

Explainer: how do free schools allocate places?

As a type of academy operating outside of local authority control, free schools act as their own admissions authority. They can choose the criteria they wish to use to prioritise the allocation of places…
New Zealand PM John Key canvassing on the campaign trail. nznationalparty

When PISA meets politics – a lesson from New Zealand

“PISA shock” is the term that has been coined for the sense of political crisis and knee-jerk policy reaction that typically occurs when a country drops in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and…
Hold on to your seats, it’s academy time! Matt Cardy/PA Archive

‘4,000 down, 20,000 to go’ – the academies drive gathers pace

It was early and still quiet as I meandered around the recent Academies Show in London. Jars of promotional pens and key chains were lined up, while two young people in smocks painted the words “innovation…
They’re watching us over in England. kemorgan65

What Swedish free schools reveal about social segregation

School-based education is undergoing significant changes across much of the developed world with private providers increasingly taking over the delivery of education from public providers. In both England…
Every head could do with a Team Sky to help them. Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Why school systems need to be more like the Tour de France

In The Importance of Teaching white paper in 2010, the government committed itself to developing a “self-improving system of schools”. Four years on there is a risk that a two-tier system will emerge in…
What are you paying for when you choose a private, non-government school? Private school image from

Buyer beware: are you really purchasing a ‘better’ education?

Australian parents are increasingly choosing to spend more money on their children’s education. A report released last week showed parents who chose private education for their child were paying an average…
Hands up who wants to go to a private school? Barack Obama visits an elementary school in Silver Springs, Maryland. EPA/Chip Somodevilla

US elections: do school vouchers work?

Most Americans agree that public education in their country is broken. The infrastructure of thousands of schools is decaying, scores on standardised tests are stagnant, and roughly 1.2 million students…
The debate on schools funding has taken a strange turn with both sides racing to increase funding to private schools. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Gillard and Abbott’s ‘race to the top’ to support private schools

In a political echo of the unseemly bi-partisan “race to the bottom” over asylum seekers, we now have a “race to the top” with the prime minister and opposition leader vying to offer the most support to…
David Gonski has conducted the most far-reaching review into school funding in Australia since the Whitlam years. AAP

Gonski review: the aim is worthy, but the implementation will be difficult

School funding has been a tortured issue for government, and especially federal Labor governments, for most of the past half century. Since the seminal Karmel Report of 1973, the funding levels and relativities…
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised an education revolution, but where are the results? AAP

Education funding: more dollars than sense

All is not well in the Australian school system. Australian schools are struggling to meet the achievement levels of OECD leader Finland. With the release of the commissioned research reports for the Gonski…
Some parents send their children to a religious school, but others struggle to choose. AAP/Alan Porritt

School choice is not the answer to everything

Australia has an unusually high proportion of children enrolled in non-government schools, when compared to similar nations. This dates back to the struggles between colonial governments and Catholic bishops…

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