The processes for allocating places at secondary schools in England are perennially controversial. Providing integrated coverage of the policy, practice and outcomes from 1944 to 2012, this book addresses the issues relevant to school admissions arising from three different approaches adopted in this period: planning via local authorities, quasi-market mechanisms, and random allocation. Each approach is assessed on its own terms, but constitutional and legal analysis is also utilised to reflect on the extent to which each meets expectations and values associated with schooling, especially democratic expectations associated with citizenship.
Repeated failure to identify and pursue specific values for schooling, and hence admissions, can be found to underlie questions regarding the `fairness' of the process, while also limiting the potential utility of judicial responses to legal actions relating to school admissions. The book adopts an interdisciplinary approach which makes it relevant and accessible to a wide readership in education, social policy and socio-legal studies.