New research exposes grammar school myth


New research by expert statisticians from the Universities of Bristol and Warwick, and the Institute of Education (UCL), demonstrates the dishonesty of Theresa May’s claim that grammar schools will benefit families that are “just about managing”.

Simon Burgess, Claire Crawford and Lindsey Macmillan show how grammar schools only benefit the very rich.

Graphs on their blog for The Conversation look at areas where grammar schools and 11-plus selection exists. They show clearly that children from families in the ‘just about managing’ category (the next-lowest fifth of the population) only have a 12% chance of attending grammar school.

Only the most affluent can be sure that most of their children will get into grammar school in these areas. Even just below the top 10% by income, less than half of children get a grammar school place.

Just as shocking, this research compared the chances of children with equally high levels of attainment but different social backgrounds. Specifically they look at children at the 80th percentile of attainment in KS2 tests (i.e. the start of the top fifth). Those from the poorest fifth have only a 25% chance of grammar school, whilst those from the most affluent fifth have a 70% chance.

England has one of the most unfair school systems in the developed world. The government’s plan to expand grammar schools will add to injustice and diminish the very limited social mobility even further.

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