ASCL comment on expanding selective schools

11 May 2018

Commenting on the government’s announcement of £50m of funding to expand the number of places at existing selective schools, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We are disappointed that the government has decided to spend scarce funding on expanding grammar schools. While there are many good selective schools, just as there are many good non-selective schools, the evidence is clear that expanding the number of selective places is likely to be damaging to social mobility.

“A report by the Education Policy Institute in September 2016 found that in areas of the country where there is already a high proportion of selection, extra grammar school places are likely to lead to small but increasing attainment losses for all pupils who do not attend grammar schools1.

“High-ability students do just as well in good non-selective schools as they do in good grammar schools, and funding is therefore better spent on creating places in the former rather than the latter. This is important at any time but particularly so when funding is very tight as a result of government under-investment in the education system.”

1'Grammar schools and social mobility' Education Policy Institute, September 2016