According to the Sutton Trust’s Parent Power report, almost a third (30%) of parents said they know of someone who has used extreme (potentially unethical) methods to bag a spot at a good school.
The report used findings from a YouGov survey of 1,107 parents of school-age children and asked how they chose the best schools and the strategies they undertook to get a place there.
The most common tactics included going to church in order to get into a religious institution with 31% of parents admitting to this or appealing against admissions decisions – 29% cited this as a method.
But for some, living outside of the catchment area can prove the biggest obstacle when attempting to register. One fifth (20%) of parents from the highest social group said they know someone who bought or rented a second property in order to combat the issue.
In stark comparison, only 6% of those in the lowest social group reported this while a total of 16% of all parents said that they know of someone who has used a relative’s address.
Parents in the top social group were twice as likely to say they know someone who has paid for private tuition in order to pass an entrance exam.
The survey also asked participants to cite what they considered when making their school choice. Local reputation was a main factor weighing in at 92% while close proximity to their home stood at 83%.
Working class parents also raised concerns in the study over the hidden costs of state school education noting the price of uniforms and travel as examples.
Founder of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, said: “Parents from all backgrounds and walks of life want to do the best for their children. Those with money, education and confidence are more able to give their children the best possible chance of succeeding. Middle class and professional parents gain an advantage for their children at every turn.”
“They do this by buying homes in the catchment areas of good schools, paying for private tuition and out of school extracurricular activities, and providing support with post-18 educational choices,” he continued. “However, there are some practical measures that can be taken to level the playing field, such as fairer school admissions and providing tuition to those who can’t afford it.”
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