Selective education guide – Essex

BACKGROUND

There are four grammar schools in Essex. 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 Essex. View the map HERE.

THE PROBLEMS

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 Essex grammar schools between 20-24% of pupils were educated in private primary schools. In England  around 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 Essex

Although just 4% of pupils in Essex attend selective schools, there will be an impact on surrounding schools.

A social divide in Essex secondary schools

In common with all grammar schools, disadvantaged pupils are underrepresented in Essex grammar schools. As a result, the county’s non-selective schools educate a far greater proportion of pupils on free school meals.

Many academics argue that a selective education system risks creating the kind of divisions which go beyond the schools themselves and can affect the wider community more generally.

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 find more information about Essex grammar schools and the 11-plus by visiting the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex website.

Want to end the 11-plus in Essex?

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

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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.