I am going to risk being labeled as backwards or uninformed but using a lottery to award places in schools (a practice designed to allow greater equity, as reported by The Times) throws a towel in the ring of choosing a sound allocation process.
Maybe I could accept this if it applied only to basic schools but that does not seem to be the case. The article never mentioned entrance tests so it is possible that such practices are nowadays frowned upon in England as discriminating the students based on their intelligence and knowledge. Granted, there are many criteria and considerations, and there will probably never be an ideal system; certainly not one that would please everybody. But surely people should be able to devise a system that would not be outperformed by handing the process over to blind chance which is done in exchange for fewer appeals and complaints. Complaints against the new system can be easily defended by its only virtue of being blind to everyone equally.
Would you be hoping to achieve a consistently positive influence on your life by picking choices out of a hat? Life is complex, decisions can be tough, it’s easy to make a mistake but we can still hope to be better off with making choices ourselves. Apparently, that is not the thinking behind the random allocation systems.