If not grammar schools, what?



This week’s media debate about the value of grammar schools as instruments of social mobility has been profoundly depressing.

For the record, all the research evidence shows that the historical impact of selective education on social mobility has been negligible.

The proportion of disadvantaged learners currently admitted to grammar schools remains desperately low.

As of January 2013:

  • 41% of grammar schools had FSM admission rates of 2% or lower; only three had rates above 10%.
  • 20% of grammar schools had 10 or fewer FSM-eligible students in their GCSE cohorts from 2011, 2012 and 2013 combined; only 10% had 40 or more FSM students taking GCSEs in these three years.

Recent efforts to improve the ratio of disadvantaged to advantaged admissions have been confined to a minority of grammar schools.

Admissions reform is strictly limited, for fear of upsetting the sharp-elbowed middle classes. Surreptitious support offered by the Coalition…

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