The Independent London Newspaper

Plans for secondary school admissions 'banding' are dropped

PLANS to set up a 'banding' system of admissions into Camden's secondary schools have abandoned after the Town Hall failed to convince all schools it was a good idea.
The controversial policy would have seen pupils put into bands – or groups – based on their potential to do well.
They would have been asked to take an 'aptitude' test before being divided up.
Education chief Councillor Andrew Mennear said today (Monday) the policy would only work if all schools signed up to it – and there was too much resistance for that to be possible.
The council said 'early indications' showed there was not universal support for the scheme, although maintained the idea had been rooted in the good intention of spreading out pupils of different levels of ability.
Officials believe it could be fairer than deciding admissions on geography.
Cllr Mennear, the Conservative head of the department, said: “In order for banding to work successfully we would need buy-in from all community schools. The informal consultation showed that while some community schools supported the idea, others were not keen and some only wanted to take part if all schools were involved.”
He added: “It is vital for us now to examine that information and consider what is best for education in Camden. While the consultation has been informative we will not take up a formal consultation at this time.”
UCL, which will sponsor the new academy school being created in Swiss Cottage, favoured the use of banding – as long as it was supported by the rest of Camden's secondary schools.

RICHARD OSLEY

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