Rachel Schraer cites Sutton Trust research on selective comprehensives in an article for the BBC.
Each year on 1 March, pupils across England find out which secondary schools are offering them places for the following September.
4. Pupils’ social backgrounds can be linked to what sort of school they go to
Comprehensive schools are open to all, regardless of background or ability. One way of looking at the social mix of a school is how many of its pupils are eligible for free school meals. Free school meals are available to children whose parents claim one of a range of income-based benefits. Using this measure, it seems the top performing 500 comprehensive schools by GCSE results in the country (out of a total of about 3,500) take about half as many of the poorest children as the average.
Analysis by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust found that at the top performing 500 schools, 9.4% of pupils were eligible for free school meals compared with an average of 17.2% across all comprehensive schools.
At grammar schools, which select by ability and also send out their offers on 1 March, only about 3% of pupils receive free school meals. The Sutton Trust says that this partly because living in the catchment area of a top comprehensive school is associated with a “house price ‘premium’ of around 20%”.
The average house price in the catchment area of a top 500 comprehensive is £45,700 more than the average house in the same local authority, the charity says.