Parental choice of primary school in England: what ‘type’ of school do parents choose?
We investigate the central premise of the theory of markets in education, namely that parents value academic standards. We ask what parents really want from schools and whether different types of parents have similar preferences. We examine parents’ stated preferences and revealed preferences for schools (their actual choice of school as opposed to what they say they value in a school). More educated and higher socio-economic status (SES) parents are more likely to cite academic standards, whilst less educated and lower SES parents are more likely to cite proximity. More advantaged parents choose better performing schools, particularly in areas with many schools and therefore a lot of potential school choice. More advantaged parents also choose schools with much lower proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals, relative to other schools available to them. Hence whilst parents do not admit to choosing schools on the basis of their social composition, this happens in practice. Most parents get their first choice of school (94%) and this holds both for more and less advantaged parents, though this is partially because poorer parents make more ‘realistic’, i.e. less ambitious, choices. If, in areas where there is a lot of potential competition between schools, more advantaged families have a higher chance of achieving their more ambitious choices that do poorer parents, this could tend to exacerbate social segregation in our schools.
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- Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves & Anna Vignoles & Deborah Wilson, 2009.
"What parents want: school preferences and school choice,"
DoQSS Working Papers
09-01, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
- Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves & Anna Vignoles & Deborah Wilson, 2009. "What Parents Want: School preferences and school choice," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/222, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
- Hastings, Justine S. & Kane, Thomas J. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2005.
"Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program,"
10, Yale University, Department of Economics.
- Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2005. "Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program," NBER Working Papers 11805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gregory R. Weiher & Kent L. Tedin, 2002. "Does choice lead to racially distinctive schools? Charter schools and household preferences," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 79-92.
- Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2005.
"What Do Parents Value in Education? An Empirical Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers,"
NBER Working Papers
11494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2007. "What Do Parents Value in Education? An Empirical Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1603-1637, November.
- Mark Schneider & Gregory Elacqua & Jack Buckley, 2006. "School choice in Chile: Is it class or the classroom?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 577-601.
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