Facts about the 11+ and grammar schools

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Here are some of the reasons we need to phase out the use of 11+ tests.

Fact: The 11-plus test isn’t fair

  • The 11-plus is based on a bankrupt idea that intelligence is innate, fixed, and can be easily measured.
  • Tuition greatly increases a child’s chances of passing the 11-plus. Children whose families cannot afford private tuition, or who lack the skills to practise test questions with a child, are at a clear disadvantage.
  • A test taken at 10 is unreliable and is not an accurate indicator of a child’s future academic attainment. Around 22% of children are wrongly classified at 10 or 11 based on their eventual GCSE results.

Fact: The majority of children admitted to grammar schools are from affluent families

  • 13% of grammar school pupils have been privately educated.
  • The majority of grammar school pupils come from families able to afford expensive coaching. An estimated £25 million a year is spent on 11-plus tuition with individual families sometimes spending £2,000 or more on coaching.
  • Typically just 5% of grammar school pupils receive free school meals due to family income, the average in a typical comprehensive school is 23%.

Fact: Grammar schools damage the schools around them

  • Schools surrounding grammar schools end up with a disproportionate number of lower attaining pupils and pupils with additional learning needs.
  • Schools around grammar schools can face difficulties recruiting teachers and are often unable to offer the range of academic subjects offered by selective schools, particularly at sixth form.
  • Grammar schools are unfairly considered ‘better’ schools than other schools in their area. A school comprised of high attaining pupils will be high achieving. This is not an indication of a grammar school’s ‘specialness’ or ‘better’ teaching – it is inevitable because of the type of pupils they select.

Fact:  Comprehensive education works

  • The majority of global education systems are comprehensive, and many have no public exams until age 18. The highest performing education systems worldwide do not segregate pupils based on ‘ability.’
  • Studies of grammar school pupils show no result’s boost once their attainment is taken into account. Similar pupils do just as well in comprehensive schools.
  • A genuinely comprehensive education avoids academic segregation and social divisiveness. Educating children from all social backgrounds together prepares them for a diverse society and helps make our society more cohesive.

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