The best school is the one you have near you
Created by Matt Edgar.
I'm a Product Manager in Leeds, United Kingdom. I'm currently freelancing.
Just a hunch! What if we used existing datasets and created new ones to help everyone rally round their nearest school? On entering your postcode and picking primary or secondary, you'll be presented with a page about precisely one school - your nearest state-funded one. You'll see contextual data to help you understand your school and its locality; share your hopes and fears for your children's education; and engage with community initiatives dedicated to making it the best place for all its students.
By privileging the latest data for a range of schools, comparison services entice parents into a zero-sum game of trading distance for quality. Moreover they embed an assumption that a school’s relative performance is likely to stay fixed over a child’s time there.
This service would give people an alternative way of looking at the data, at once more realistic and more aspirational. The realism stems from the fact that many families, especially outside large urban areas, have little practical choice in the schools to which they send their children. The aspiration says that schools can and do change their performance and character significantly - sometimes even in the time between parents expressing a preference and their children starting their educations.
Engaged parents and communities are a major contributing factor to improvement and this service would encourage them to commit earlier and more wholeheartedly. Longer term, additional benefits would flow to communities from lower transport costs, reduced pollution and traffic harm, and increased social solidarity.
Making it so!
Telling me it's a dumb idea (please give reasons).
Also datasets showing how many parents already send their children to their nearest school, and how dynamic school performance can be between the points of choosing, starting and leaving schools.
Help families confidently choose their nearest schools
Help communities shape their local schools according to their hopes and aspirations for their children
Influence other education data projects away from zero-sum comparisons