The members of Matching in Practice are involved in a large-scale mapping of matching practices in education and related markets in Europe. If you have comments on some of the descriptions included herein or want to contribute comments or expertise, please contact us.

Countries or regions with available information are coloured blue, please click on each country or region for related profile. A list of profiles on secondary schools can be found here.


BELGIUM (FR)
Who is in charge? The CIRI (Commission Interréseaux des inscriptions, Inter-network Registration Commission), which depends on the CFB.
Restrictions on preference Parents can list up to 10 schools in decreasing order of preference. Children are eligible for admission at all schools as long as their parents agree with the educational project of the school.
Matching procedure Multi-stage procedure with some decentralized and centralized aspects. The first stage procedure corresponds to the Boston (first-preference-first) mechanism. The second stage is a variant of the student-proposing Deferred Acceptance algorithm but with a tie-breaking rule that depends on the position of the school in students’ wish list.
Priorities & Quotas Students can benefit from priorities (sibling, special need, …) only at the school of their first choice. There is a quota of 20.4% for students coming from a socially disadvantaged primary school.
Tie-breaking Ties are broken based on a student-specific composite index that depends on geographical and pedagogical characteristics, as well as (in the second stage) on the position of the school in the student’s wish-list.

Finland
Who is in charge? The Finnish National Board of Education oversees the allocation process.
Restrictions on preference At most 5 programs.
Matching Procedure Sequential version of the school-proposing Gale-Shapley.
Priorities & Quotas Upper secondary schools compute a composite score based on prior academic record and performance on an entry exam. Weights are decided by individual schools. Vocational schools can in addition give bonus points, and thus award a higher composite score, for ranking them first or second and to achieve gender balance.
Tie-breaking Preferences, academic performance and other criteria are used as tie-breakers (different tie-breakers for upper secondary and vocational schools).
Other features A student can receive both vocational and upper secondary school certificates. Gender balancing system can award higher composite score to the minority sex in vocational schools.

Spain
Who is in charge? The municipalities.
Restrictions on preference Parents can only list a limited number of school (usually in the range from 6 to 10).
Matching Procedure Boston Mechanism.
Priorities & Quotas Priority number based on neighborhood, sibling status and/or socioeconomics.
Tie-breaking Fair unique lottery.

Italy
Who is in charge? Each school governing body, but local authorities can serve as coordinator at a local level.
Restrictions on preference One application per student to be sent to the school of first choice. Students can indicate up to 2 other schools in their application forms.
Matching procedure Decentralized admissions. In case the first chosen school does not have a seat for the student, the principal forwards the demand to one of the other schools.
Priorities & Quotas Decentralized admissions. In case the first chosen school does not have a seat for the student, the principal forwards the demand to one of the other schools.
Tie-breaking Set by school governing body.

France
Who is in charge? Districts (France is divided into 30 districts).
Restrictions on preference Varies across districts. Students can only apply to schools within their districts.
Matching Procedure The assignment uses a variant of the school-proposing deferred acceptance algorithm (with restrictions on the number of schools that can be ranked). There is a second round for students who were unassigned in the first round.
Priorities & Quotas There are no quotas for minorities. Priorities vary across districts. They are based on a score that depends on a combination of geographic, academic, social and strategic factors.
Tie-breaking Given the way priorities are defined, tie-breaking is usually not needed. In some districts, the date of birth is used as a tie-breaking rule.
Other features In many districts, applications benefit from extra points at schools that are ranked first.

Hungary
Who is in charge? A governmental information centre (KIR), assisted by another NPO (Educatio Kht.), and overlooked by the Educational Office of the Ministry.
Restrictions on preference No restriction, students may (and are encouraged to) supply preference lists of any length.
Matching Procedure Centralised process that follows the student-proposing Gale-Shapley mechanism.
Priorities & Quotas Left to decide by each individual school under certain restrictions. When creating its ranking list, a school may consider only the grades of the students from primary school or can require participation in the centralised written tests and can also conduct interviews. The weighting of the above three scores must comply with the regulation (e.g. the weight of the interview score cannot be more than 25%).
Tie-breaking Schools must provide strict rankings.

UK (Scotland)
Who is in charge? Admission to schools is devolved to local authorities.
Restrictions on preference One school in the catchment area (with no opportunity to supply a preference) or a “placing request” for a school outside the catchment area. Multiple placing requests can be made but a parent must indicate their first choice among these (and this is the only preference that can be expressed).
Matching Procedure If the parent is satisfied with the catchment area school, then the child will normally be placed there. Placing requests are not guaranteed to be met, though family circumstances such as siblings already at the school are considered. when local authorities make decisions.
Priorities & Quotas Individual local authorities may set their own priorities when it comes to granting placing requests. These are not published at national level.
Tie-breaking N/A.

Ireland
Who is in charge? Individual schools.
Restrictions on preference None.
Matching procedure Mostly decentralized admissions. Some centralized enrollment in a few regions.
Priorities & Quotas Left to decide by the schools.
Tie-breaking Large heterogeneity, i.e. various rules applied.

Germany
Who is in charge? Shared responsibility of schools and districts.
Restrictions on preference In districts allowing choice, parents can express their preferences for up to three schools, but some districts restrict preferences to one or two schools (at a time).
Matching procedure Varies across States and districts but variants of the first-preference-first mechanism are common; admission decisions are typically taken by schools (decentralized). Manual coordination is used in some districts to improve the final allocation.
Priorities & Quotas States provide guidelines for acceptable criteria for priorities and quotas. Districts can add further constraints. It is common for schools to have their own admission criteria (within guidelines).
Tie-breaking Schools (or districts when some district level coordination is used) can use lotteries or manual decisions.