Deputy Council leader doesn’t seem to understand Bucks’ attainment gap
A councillor in Buckinghamshire has criticised a local authority cabinet member’s claims that the current education system in the county is “excellent.” Councillor Susan Lewin wrote for the Bucks Herald criticising  Deputy leader, Councillor Gareth Williams, comment that the selective county’s huge attainment gap is proof of an “excellent education system” and that questioning it is tantamount to wanting ‘levelling down’. She pointed out that he didn’t appear to understand the meaning of the attainment gap and its impact on poorer children.  Latest available data shows that there is a 39% gap between FSM and non-FSM children obtaining five or more good GCSEs in Bucks. In comparison the national gap is 26%.
Read the excellent article HERE.

Grammar school pupils are more likely to receive GCSE tuition
A new study by the Sutton Trust suggests that 23% of grammar school pupils receive private tuition in years 10 or 11. This compares to  18% of pupils in comprehensive schools. It is likely the difference is driven by the social status and ambition of grammar school parents, but perhaps it doesn’t reflect well on selective schools, that parents feel a need to pay for additional teaching. The research also shows that 27% of respondents had received private tuition for a school entrance exam.
Read more about the report HERE.

BBC research suggests grammar school priority admission policies are admitting few disadvantaged pupils

An important new study by the BBC reviewed grammar school admission policies to check how many offered priority for disadvantaged pupils. The research also looked at the overall percentages of pupil premium pupils attending selective schools, and whether grammar schools had expanded their pupil numbers. It found most grammar schools now have admission policies aimed at helping disadvantaged pupils secure a place, however a quarter of grammar schools still have fewer than 5% of disadvantaged pupils. Out of  3000+ non selective secondary schools in the country just 13 had similar low numbers.

CF’s James Coombs created a data visualisation using the research, and the report can be read in full HERE.

How did Northern Ireland’s grammars manage without the transfer test?

Grammar schools continued to admit many pupils from affluent backgrounds despite the cancellation of transfer tests in 2021. A study shows that wealthier pupils still applied to the schools, while poorer pupils and pupils with SEND did not. The report says, “We have a grammar school sector… which, consistently, has very few children from the most socially deprived areas, very few children entitled to free school meals, very few children with special educational needs and very few newcomer children.”

Read more about this research HERE.

Do Conservatives’ know grammar school’s don’t work? 

An excellent article by the Guardian’s Lola Okolosie looks at the evidence proving grammar schools are bad policy. She points out that these schools only producing the results you’d expect based on their pupil intake. She suggests that repeated attempts by the Tory party to expand 11-plus selection have all failed because the evidence against selection is so overwhelming. She says, “That grammars are able to cream off the top students and then boast about excellence seems an exercise akin to saying water is wet. Of course they achieve good results, jam-packed as they are with the most able students from privileged backgrounds.”
Read the article in full HERE.

School admissions urgently need reform
New research published by the University of Bristol highlights the many problems with England’s school admission system. It points out there are, “A raft of different, highly complicated processes which, in some cases, are not only hard for parents to understand but also serve to perpetuate social inequalities and division.”
Read more HERE.
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