‘Pushy parents’ are hiring private doctors to give medical reasons why their child has to be top of the list for their chosen school, charity warns
- ‘Sharp-elbowed’ parents try to ‘game the system’ said education charity chief
- Admission rule made to give priority to pupils who have to attend specific school
- Parents must provide evidence from an independent professional like doctor
Pushy parents are paying private doctors to provide evidence of medical reasons to push their child to the top of the list for school places, it has been claimed.
They are taking advantage of admission rules that give priority to pupils who may have exceptional grounds to attend a particular school.
Dr Lee Elliot Major, chief executive of the educational charity the Sutton Trust, said these ‘sharp-elbowed’ parents try to ‘game the system’, with conditions ‘miraculously’ disappearing when term begins.
Admission rule made to give priority to pupils who have to attend specific school
The admission rule is designed to provide priority to pupils who have to attend a specific school due to ‘exceptional medical or social needs’. This could be a mobility or mental health problem such as anxiety. Parents must provide evidence from an independent professional such as a psychologist or consultant.
But families are also asking for the rule to be applied for conditions such as asthma, allergies and travel sickness.
Dr Major was told about abuses while researching his book Social Mobility And Its Enemies, with Professor Stephen Machin, director of the Centre for Economic Performance. They talked to parents and teachers in North London and discovered a ‘battleground’ over admissions.
Dr Major said: ‘We heard several times that some parents will pay to have a review by a consultant with the aim of identifying a medical condition of some sort. The accusations were that these things miraculously would clear up once the pupils were in the school.’