Selective education guide – Birmingham


There are eight grammar schools in Birmingham. Check out our map of selective schools in England to find out more about these schools. The map gives the percentage of disadvantaged pupils, the percentage of pupils attending a grammar school who are likely to have come from a fee-paying ‘prep’ school, and the relative selectivity of every grammar school in Birmingham. View the map HERE.

Or, to read stories from parents and teachers experiencing selective education in Birmingham visit the 11+ Anonymous website HERE.


In every area where academic selection still exists there are some common problems. For example,

  • Grammar schools admit fewer disadvantaged pupils than non-selective schools. Grammar schools are also more likely to admit pupils from more advantaged families.


  • A significant number of pupils previously educated in fee-paying ‘prep’ schools take up grammar school places. In an average Birmingham grammar school 11% of pupils were previously educated in private primary schools. In England 5% of primary pupils attend private schools, so this is not a typical balance of pupils.


  • Tuition for the 11-plus ‘buys advantage’. Better-off families can afford private coaching while poorer families feel compelled to pay for tuition they can ill afford.


  • The 11-plus has been proven to lack accuracy because it takes place while children are still developing academically.


  • Research shows the proportion of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) attending grammar schools is small. For many children with additional learning needs such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorders, the 11-plus test is inaccessible. The same children often perform very well academically outside a test situation.


  • Grammar schools change the pupil profile of other schools in the area. If a large number of higher attaining pupils attend grammar schools then surrounding schools find themselves with a pupil population which is skewed, with a disproportionate amount of moderate and lower attaining pupils and pupils with additional learning needs. This impacts on subject choice (fewer subjects available than at a grammar school) and teacher recruitment. Non-selective schools in areas with grammar schools cannot be ‘true’ comprehensives and tend to underperform compared to comprehensive schools.


  • GCSE results in areas with grammar schools are on a par, or worse, than areas that have only comprehensive schools. Research has shown that children who attend selective schools would be likely to achieve broadly the same results in any comprehensive school.

The percentage of pupils attending grammar schools in Birmingham

Although only 9% of pupils in Birmingham attend selective schools there will be a clear impact on surrounding schools in communities where the grammar schools are located.

A social divide in Birmingham secondary schools

In common with all grammar schools, disadvantaged pupils are underrepresented in Birmingham grammar schools.

Although many Birmingham grammar schools give priority admission to ‘Pupil Premium’ pupils (pupils who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any time in the past 6 years), there is still a notable difference between the proportions of Pupil Premium pupils in Birmingham grammar schools and those in non-selective secondary schools.

The Birmingham 11-plus damages children’s confidence

Many children feel demotivated by a ‘fail’ in the 11-plus. We believe all children should start secondary school feeling positive about their academic ability. The success of non-selective schools in most areas of the country prove that there is no need to divide children by using an out of date and discredited test.

More information

You can read more information about Birmingham grammar schools and the 11-plus test, including test dates, on The Birmingham Grammar Schools website.

Want to end the 11-plus in Birmingham?

Join Comprehensive Future’s campaign to end the 11-plus.


To learn about the data sources for our interactive map and selective education guides click here. If you spot any errors in the data for any area, please let us know.