This research brief by Carl Cullinane addresses the government’s argument that grammar schools benefit disadvantaged and highly able students and improve the education system as a whole. The brief starts with a review of grammar school evidence then explores the questions: do grammar schools facilitate social mobility and does the education system as a whole benefit? It answers these questions by looking the attendance of grammar schools by different socio-economic and ethnic groups; examining access to grammars for disadvantaged students and those from Just About Managing families, along with examining the proportion of privately educated pupils vis-à-vis state educated pupils. It concludes by comparing performance between highly able students at grammar schools and top comprehensives.
- Provide a minimum ten hours test preparation for all pupils to provide a level playing field.
- Schools should prioritise pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium in admissions
- Improve outreach work to families from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly looking at ethnic groups with much lower propensities to attend grammars.
- The government should establish a highly able fund to support the prospects of high attainers in comprehensive schools.
- All pupils should have fair access to sit EBacc subjects, particularly those eligible for the pupil premium.
- The Government should focus on improving fair access to existing grammar schools before any expansion in the number of grammar schools.