Selective education guide – Trafford

BACKGROUND

There are seven grammar schools in Trafford. Together they educate a substantial number of local children as well as children who live outside the local authority. There is a larger proportion of secondary school places in grammar schools in Trafford than in any other local authority in England.

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 Trafford. 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. Trafford grammar schools can admit as many as one in four pupils who have been previously educated in private schools. In England  around 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 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 Trafford

Trafford educates more pupils in selective secondary schools than any other area of England. 38% of the local pupils attend one of the local authority’s seven grammar schools. The impact on the pupil population of neighbouring non-selective schools is significant.

The Department for Education classifies Trafford as a ‘highly selective area.’ Although the DfE acknowledges that selective areas such as Trafford are offering a different type of education than other areas of England, the impact of a local authority educating its pupils in an alternative education system is never scrutinised. The lack of checks and reporting requirements means the full impact of a selective school system cannot be fully understood. There are many aspects of selection which remain shrouded in secrecy.

A social divide in Trafford’s secondary schools

In common with all selective areas, disadvantaged pupils are underrepresented in Trafford’s grammar schools.

Out of area pupils claim many Trafford school places

A relatively high proportion of Trafford’s grammar school places are claimed by children living outside Trafford. Many Trafford residents feel that local schools should be for local children.

Results in Trafford

Trafford’s MP Graham Brady uses Trafford’s school performance as evidence that selective education is better than comprehensive education, but his use of exam results is misleading. On the surface, Trafford’s school results do appear better than other areas of Greater Manchester, However, Trafford’s grammar schools are only able perform so highly because they have an unnaturally large concentration of higher attaining pupils who come from within Trafford as well as outside the authority. Trafford’s school results cannot therefore be compared with areas where schools educate only local children who represent all levels of attainment.

11-plus tuition businesses profit from anxious parents in Trafford

Although some 11-plus test companies claim that their tests are ‘tutor proof’ most parents believe otherwise. Parents can spend thousands of pounds preparing children for 11-plus tests. Test tuition means the test isn’t a level playing field. Children from more comfortably off backgrounds are more likely to be have received coaching and are therefore more likely to pass the test and gain a grammar school place.

The 11-plus damages children’s confidence

Alexandra Veitch at Cambridge University

Alexandra Veitch, wrote about her experience of failing the 11-plus in Trafford. She describes how it affected her self-worth and confidence as she was growing up.

Many children are 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 proves that there is no need to segregate children by means of an outdated and discredited test.

More information

You can read more information about Trafford’s grammar schools and the 11-plus by visiting the individual school websites, or the Trafford Council school admission page.

Want to end the 11-plus in Trafford?

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.