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School of Applied Social Sciences

SASS Staff

Publication details

Gorard, S. & Siddiqui, N. (2016). Grammar schools in England: a new approach to analysing their intakes and outcomes. School of Education. Durham University.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This paper forms part of a larger investigation of indicators of disadvantage and how they
may be improved or supplemented in order to track school intakes and results better. Here our
evolving dataset based on the National Pupil Database in England over 11 years is used to
assess the impact of selective schools. At time of writing, the UK government is planning to
increase the number of pupils attending state-funded selective grammar schools via a number
of routes. They claim that this will assist overall standards, reduce the poverty attainment gap
and so aid social mobility. Using the full 2015 cohort of pupils in England, this paper shows
how stratified the pupils attending grammar schools actually are (worse than previous
estimates) in terms of poverty, ethnicity, language, special educational needs, and even their
age in year. It also shows that the results from grammar schools are no better than expected,
once these differences are taken into account. There is no evidence base for a policy of
increasing selection; rather the UK government should consider phasing the existing selective
schools out.