Evidence check: Grammar schools Contents

Conclusions and recommendations


1.The policy aims set out by the Government—especially with respect to closing the attainment gap—differ significantly from the characteristics of grammar schools of the past and present. (Paragraph 19)

2.The Government’s proposals must take account of the needs of the economy for a broadly skilled workforce, recognising that generally technical specialisation occurs later in a student’s education, and take into account the UK’s competitiveness in a globalised economy. This will involve having regard to international trends and the performance of other countries’ education systems, which do not always point towards earlier specialisation within school systems, and attention should be paid to the Dutch model, which is overall a successful system and one that includes selection. If England is to take this course, it would be important for the Government to demonstrate clearly how this policy will meet the requirements of the Industrial Strategy. (Paragraph 24)

Measures of success

3.The Government must demonstrate how the creation of new grammar schools will help close the attainment gap within the wider school system, not just for individual pupils. (Paragraph 34)

4.We urge caution when making comparisons between high- and mixed-ability pupils at selective and non-selective schools. It is important that, where comparisons are made, wider socio-economic issues are taken into account. (Paragraph 35)

Admissions and testing

5.If, as the Minister suggested, a tutor-proof test is a ‘holy grail’, selection tests should not be the only basis on which admissions to grammar schools are based. The Government has yet to demonstrate how an admissions system could be designed in a manner which would be immune to gaming, or being reduced to the ability to pay. (Paragraph 44)

Resource sorting

6.The creation of new grammar schools would have effects throughout the education system; whilst the Green Paper considers the system as a whole, the Government must look carefully at the consequences for school funding, the supply of teachers, and the overall health of schools in England. Specifically, alongside its response to the consultation process the Government must publish a thorough assessment of the impact of introducing greater selection on the wider school system, outlining all of the options considered. (Paragraph 50)

10 February 2017