Page last updated at 10:37 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 11:37 UK

Schools lottery to stay in place

Blatchington Mill School
Blatchington Mill is one of the most popular in Brighton and Hove

A lottery system for secondary school places in Brighton and Hove is to remain in place until at least 2012 despite an ongoing government review.

The city council was the first to introduce the lottery to allocate school places in September 2008 and is using the system again this year.

For the second year running, 150 families have appealed against the schools they have been given.

Councillor Vanessa Brown said the system was working very well.

The council introduced the lottery to give more children a better chance of getting into popular schools.

Amanda Booth wanted her son to go to over-subscribed Blatchington Mill in Nevill Avenue, Hove.

But he has been given another school, which only two others in his class will be attending.

"He is very upset about it," she said.

"It has also created a culture within the school of winners and losers, which has filtered down to the children.

"It is very unfortunate."

Random selection

The city is divided into six catchment areas, with pupils attending a school in their area.

But where there are two schools in one catchment area, admissions are decided by lottery, not proximity.

Last month, schools secretary Ed Balls asked the chief schools adjudicator to look at random selection and whether it was fair to children.

He said he would be "very concerned if it was happening other than as a last resort".

But Vanessa Brown, cabinet member for children and young people, said the system would not be abandoned.

"It seems to be working very well," she said.

"But we have said we will review it and so we will look at it again in 2012."


Vanessa Brown defends the decision to keep the schools lottery system

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