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David Jesson: Schools of thought

Category: In the News
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Prof David Jesson cited Sutton Trust research in a letter to The Times.

Sir, Your leader (Oct 15) raises issues that go far beyond a decision to allow the Weald of Kent Grammar School to expand. Much of the emphasis of government policy has been on narrowing the gap between disadvantaged and other pupils. Many grammar schools’ selection procedures do nothing to enhance this. A recent report by the Sutton Trust showed that one in six entrants to grammar schools were educated outside the state system, predominantly in private schools, while just one in 16 came from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Where grammar schools have made intensive efforts to recruit bright but disadvantaged pupils, as in the King Edward VI Foundation schools in Birmingham, the results have been remarkable. It would be good to explore what more can be done nationally to encourage all grammar schools to assist in this very desirable objective. This might then offer a genuine ladder of opportunity to those bright but disadvantaged young people whose chances of entry are currently so starkly different from others.