Selective Buckinghamshire has a far worse attainment gap than neighbouring comprehensive authorities. Data published by the DfE looks at the ‘FSM Gap,’ a comparison of GCSE results for Free School Meals pupils and those not in receipt of this benefit. Although the data is a from 2015 these are the latest figures we have, as unfortunately, the DfE has stopped publishing this comparison data. There is no reason to think the situation has improved for the poorest children in the county, with countless studies proving that selection causes inequality and poor outcomes for disadvantaged children.
The data shows that in Bucks 32.2% of FSM children obtained 5+ GCSE at grade C or above while 71.4% of non-FSM achieved the same. A gap of 39.2 percentage points.
If we look at the gap in neighbouring authorities we find that comprehensive areas have much smaller percentage gaps.
There are less than 2% of Buckinghamshire grammar school pupils in receipt of free school meals, compared to 11% attending the county’s non-selective schools. We know Bucks grammar schools admit many wealthy high attaining pupils, while disadvantaged pupils are more likely attend schools that suffer from a secondary modern effect, depressing outcomes and results. We believe that comprehensive education is far better for social equity, and Buck’s 11-plus school system is out of date and not fit for purpose.