Selective education guide – North Yorkshire


There are three grammar schools in North Yorkshire: two in Skipton and one in Ripon.

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 North Yorkshire. View the map HERE.

Or, to read stories from parents and teachers experiencing selective education in North Yorkshire 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.


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


  • 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 with, or worse than, areas that have only comprehensive schools. Research has shown that children who attend selective schools would achieve broadly the same results if they attended a non-selective school.

The percentage of pupils attending grammar schools in North Yorkshire

Although just 6% of pupils in North Yorkshire attend the grammar schools in Skipton and Ripon, there will be an impact on the pupil population of nearby non-selective schools.

A social divide in North Yorkshire secondary schools

In common with all grammar schools, disadvantaged pupils are underrepresented in North Yorkshire’s 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 is a flawed exam

The North Yorkshire 11-plus test was studied by researchers at Education Datalab to determine whether such tests are accurate at selecting pupils. The research found that when tested twice with an 11-plus, many pupils passed one test and failed another.

Out of 129 pupils, one third (44 pupils) achieved a qualifying score in only one of the two tests. This suggests that chance must play a significant part in passing the 11-plus. The 11-plus is cannot therefore reliably assess a child’s academic ‘ability’ or predict their academic potential.

Education Datalab said, “Sometimes less academically capable students will pass the 11-plus and more academic capable students will fail. Society needs to decide how much of this misallocation it can tolerate.”

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 segregate children by means of an outdated and discredited test.

More information

You can read more information about North Yorkshire grammar schools and the 11-plus test, on the North Yorkshire County Council website.

Want to end the 11-plus in North Yorkshire?

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.