Poorer children are less likely to go to grammar schools
18 October 2016
What was claimed
Poorer children are less likely to get into grammar schools.
Poorer children are less likely to go to grammar schools even if they are high achievers. It’s not certain if this is because poorer children are less likely to apply, or less likely to get in, or a bit of both.
“The problem is that not enough children from lower [socio-]economic backgrounds get access into grammar schools—that’s why there isn’t the social mobility you’re talking about.”
It’s true that the poorest children are less likely to go to grammar schools.
Less than 3% of pupils going to English grammar schools are entitled to free school meals, according toresearch from the Sutton Trustfrom a few years ago. Looking at the latest data for 2014/15, this figure has not changed. For non-grammar schools in the same area, the Sutton Trust found that 18% of pupils were eligible for free school meals.
That isn’t just down to differences in ability. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has foundthat “amongst high achievers, those who are eligible for free school meals or who live in poorer neighbourhoods are significantly less likely to go to a grammar school”.
Itsaidthe question remains whether this is because poorer children are less likely to apply or less likely to get in once they apply.
Grammar school pupils are much less likely to be from deprived areas. Ofsted rank schools based on the average level of deprivation found at the postcodes of pupils from the school: 1 means the pupils are from the least deprived postcodes and 5 means they are on average from the most deprived.
40% of grammar schools achieved a 1 rating, compared to 20% of non-selective secondary schools. In contrast, less than 1% of grammar schools achieved a 5 rating, compared to 21% of non-selective secondary schools.
Pupils with the same level of maths at key stage two, or between the age of seven and eleven, were more likely to go to a grammar school if they did not receive free school meals according to a study of students between 2009/10 and 2011/12 by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The governmenthas acknowledgedthat pupils eligible for free school meals are less likely to go to grammar schools. It says it wants to find out more about the impact of selective education on pupils from low income backgrounds who aren’t eligible for free school meals.
Evidencesuggestspupils who get into grammar schools perform better than they would under comprehensive education, and pupils who don’t perform worse.
We can’t sugar coat how difficult this year has been for good information.
News this year has fractured communities, and caused confusion and panic for many of us. No one can control what will happen next. But you can support a debate based on fair, accurate and transparent information.
As independent, impartial fact checkers, we rely on individuals like you to ensure the most dangerously false inaccuracies can be called out and challenged.
Could you chip in to support an accurate and fair debate today?