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Study says grammar schools benefit limited to only six areas


Grade boundaries

A study has found that there are only six areas of the UK in which the parents want the new grammar schools and where the implementation of these schools would be of widespread benefit.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) studied and predicted the effects of the proposals on 32,844 districts in the UK.

The EPI constructed a set of tests based on the proposals for grammar schools, as set out in the government’s White Paper, Schools that Work for Everyone.

These were that they: should not negatively affect those students who do not attend the schools; the schools must be located in areas with enough of a student population to attend them, and make the policy worthwhile; the grammar schools should not undermine the existing schools, particularly those that are high performing; and are only located in areas where the majority of parents want them.

The study found that the overall levels of education would be negatively affected if new schools were created in areas where more than 50 per cent of students with high educational performance had access to selective schools.

Thus, the “no detriment” factor removed just under 30 per cent of areas.

They then excluded any area that did not have at least 150 pupils with high prior attainment who lived within a reasonable travelling distance, which removed another 1 percent from consideration.

The researchers then removed areas which already had high-performing non-selective schools, whose performance would be lowered by the creation of grammar schools in their vicinity.

These factors left only around 20 per cent of areas.

After these were checked in terms of their support and demand for grammars in a recent YouGov poll, just six areas remained.

These were North Somerset, Solihull, Dorset, Essex, North Yorkshire and
Northamptonshire.

The EPI’s chairman, David Laws, said that “the additional analysis that we have now published highlights further significant challenges which face the government if ministers decide to press on with these proposals.”

Shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said the report “joins the mountains of evidence that proves a return to grammar schools will not improve education for all, but will actively make things worse”.

But a spokeswoman for the Department of Education dismissed the findings, saying: “this report is a crude attempt to second-guess what that consultation will conclude.

“Independent organisations have recognised the transformative impact grammar schools can have on the lives of disadvantaged young people.

“Our consultation closes on 12 December and we look forward to considering all the responses.”

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