Selective education guide – Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole


There are four grammar schools in the unitary authority of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. There are two grammar schools in Bournemouth and two in Poole.

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 Bournemouth. View the map HERE.

Or, to read stories from parents and teachers experiencing selective education in Bournemouth and surrounding areas visit the 11+ Anonymous site 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. On average 15% of pupils attending Bournemouth and Poole grammar schools 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.


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


  • Sitting the 11-plus is stressful and can damage a child’s confidence.


  • 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 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

A relatively high proportion of pupils in Bournemouth and Poole attend selective schools. In Bournemouth, 19% of secondary pupils attend a grammar school. In Poole, the figure is 27% of all secondary school pupils. Overall, 19% of pupils attend a grammar school in the authority of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Pool. As in all areas where grammar schools are located, these schools impact the pupil population of surrounding schools.

A social divide in  secondary schools in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Disadvantaged pupils are underrepresented in the four grammar schools which come under the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole authority.

The 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 comprehensive schools in most areas of the country proves 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 Bournemouth grammar schools and the 11-plus by visiting the Bournemouth School and  the Bournemouth School for Girls websites, and you can learn more about grammar schools in Poole by visiting the Poole Grammar School and Parkstone Grammar School websites.

Want to end the 11-plus in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole?

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.