Analysis programme BBC R4 24 Feb 2014 – feedback

A splendid piece with excellent contributions from Barbara and Peter. (I spoke to the producer and gave him a lot of pointers, but couldn’t do the interview because of a 3-week break in Tenerife)

I was delighted that most of the programme was devoted to lotteries for school and university places. The case for university entrance by lot was well made, as a difficult but inevitable method of choosing between generally well-qualified applicants.

However no mention was made of the highly successful Dutch medical school entry lottery which has stood up very well over the decades. Pity!

Lotteries for school places (seats in the US) produced a less satisfactory result. The obvious fairness of lottery and the unfairness of nearness-to-school were demonstrated.

But the result of using the lottery, especially in Brighton, is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ because the desired social mixing has not been achieved.

This is entirely predictable, because entry to the lottery is voluntary. Only the determined (middle-classes) go for it. If a representative outcome didn’t happen, at least all parents/children had a rough equality of chance.
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