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School place lotteries 'to be scrapped' EDUCATION.

THE lottery system for school places could soon be scrapped after Ed Balls said it could be "unfair and destabilising" in a surprise U-turn.

Growing numbers of schools are deciding places by random allocation - designed to stop middle-class parents securing places by buying homes in catchment areas.

But the Schools Secretary has ordered a probe into whether the lotteries have a harmful effect - highlighted by a case in which twins were placed in different schools.

Mr Balls said random allocation was the fairest way of resolving decisions in some areas but should only be "absolutely the last resort".

More than half a million parents are waiting anxiously to see if their child has a place at their first place school.

Lotteries are used in some form in about 25 authorities.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 2, 2009
Words:130
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