Working paper 06/150 - Abstract

The Result of 11 Plus Selection: An Investigation into Opportunities and Outcomes for Pupils in Selective LEAs (PDF, file 191 KB) (PDF, 190kB)

Adele Atkinson, Paul Gregg and Brendon McConnell

This paper assesses the impact of academic selection at age 11 on children in the minority of areas that still operate such a system. The answers are very clear. Overall there is little or no impact on attainment, but those educated in grammar schools do substantially better (around four grade points more than pupils with the same Key Stage 2 (KS2) points in similar, but non-selective, areas). This is equivalent to raising four GCSEs from a grade 'C' to a 'B'. Other children within selective areas who do not gain a place in a grammar school are disadvantaged by a little under one grade point. In part these effects stem from the substantive under representation of poorer and special needs children in grammar schools. Only 32% of high ability children eligible for free school meals (FSM) attend grammar schools compared with 60% of non-FSM pupils. So whilst the net effect of selection is not substantive it does result in gains for those attending the grammar schools and a slight disadvantage for the rest. The paradox is that grammar schools bestow greater advantages to poor children than more affluent children, but very few make the cut.

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