News review – Grammar versus comprehensives, ‘experience’ days

Education outcomes for pupils attending non-selective schools in areas with grammars are lower than for similar pupils in non-selective areas, according to a new analysis reported by TES (6 June).


The research by FFT Education Datalab found that students attending secondary moderns and comprehensives in selective areas did worse when it came to getting the best GCSE grades and going to top universities, the publication said.

“Although the percentage of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades including GCSE English and maths was the same, the former group tend to do worse on higher-level outcomes. For instance, they were half as likely to achieve five A*-A grades at GCSE or attend a top third university,” the research said.

“It looks like outcomes for pupils who went to grammar schools are slightly higher than those of similar pupils who didn’t, but these have to be balanced against worse outcomes for those who don’t get in,” it added.

The Skinners’ School in Kent has deleted a controversial clause in its registration form that made parents agree their child could be kicked out if the headteacher thinks it “desirable,” according to Schools Week (7 June).

The Skinners’ School in Kent required the parents of prospective pupils to sign a registration form allowing governors to withdraw their child if they decided via “a report from the headmaster…that such withdrawal or transfer is desirable”.

It is illegal for schools to exclude pupils for non-disciplinary reasons, such as additional needs or low academic attainment.

A minister and multiple MPs have condemned a pair of Lincolnshire grammar schools after they offered the “outdated” options of cookery for girls and design and technology for boys, according to The Daily Telegraph (7 June).

Spalding Grammar School and Spalding High School invited Year Four primary school pupils from the local area for “experience days”.

A letter sent home to parents read: “The children will take part in two, hour-long lessons. The girls will be attending Spalding High School where they will take part in a food technology and drama lesson, whilst the boys will be taking part in a double Design and Technology lesson at Spalding Grammar School.”

The Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe plans to adjust the layout of the school, including extensions to the library and the creation of a new sixth form centre, the Bucks Free Press reported (5 June).

The Royal Grammar School hope the plans will respond to a recent audit of the site, which ‘highlighted a major deficiency in the spaces for Post 16 students’ and give the sixth form centre ‘prominence and pride of place within the school’.

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