Grammar schools in tougher ranking call
Published: 3rd May 2012 04:34:27
England's grammar schools should be rated on tougher league table measures, a report suggests.
They should be ranked on how many pupils get A and A* grades at GCSE, says a study for the Schools Network.
Schools in England are measured on how many pupils get A* to C grades in five GCSEs, including maths and English.
The report also shows wide variations in both the intake of grammar schools in different parts of England and in pupils' performance at GCSE.
In general, it found that grammars in less wealthy areas were more likely to have pupils who entered them with lower academic attainment than other grammars.
We need a new way of measuring the performance of these schools”
Performance at GCSE was also relatively lower, although still high when compared with the national average.
Usually grammars come high up in the academic league tables, with most scoring close to 100% in the government's chosen measure - pupils getting five A* to C grades including maths and English.
Among pupils at comprehensives, about 58% reach that level.
The study was carried out by Professor David Jesson for the Schools Network. He is an associate director of the organisation, which represents 5,000 schools and academies, including about 100 of England's 164 grammar schools.
Professor Jesson looked at how the schools measured up against each other if ranked on what proportion of pupils got five GCSEs including maths and English all at A* or A grades.
He said: "I am quite surprised by the findings because of the range of outcomes for schools which appear to recruit very similar students.
"The 19 schools in London are really quite outstanding. The South East [Kent and Medway] came lowest.
"More important, there was quite a range of outcomes between schools in each area."
Grammar schools are small in number compared with other secondaries; there are about 3,500 secondary schools and academies in England.
Professor Jesson, of the University of York, says his study shows some grammar schools need to improve.
"Grammar schools should expect to achieve high levels of performance for their pupils and most do. There are however substantial differences between grammar schools' outcomes which tend to go unnoticed in the standard performance tables.
"If we are genuinely committed to the idea of excellence for all we need a new way of measuring the performance of these schools and making sure that every pupil reaches their full potential."
Those opposed to academic selection believe it widens the gap between rich and poor, and say grammar schools tend to be dominated by the middle classes.
Just over 2% of children at grammar schools are eligible for free school meals compared with a national average of about 16%.
The campaign group Comprehensive Future says it does not want to see grammar schools abolished - just the 11-plus exam which is used to select pupils.
Fiona Millar from the group said: "I do think it is important that the performance of grammars is scrutinised more closely.
"The 5 A* -C measure is quite a crude one with which to judge schools that are already taking the top 20-30% of children.
"There is an assumption that they are all outstanding schools, but we should be allowed to see more evidence about whether the teaching and progress does justify that claim."
A Department for Education spokesman said: "No school can ever afford to rest on its laurels.
"We want to make sure that all schools are stretching their brightest pupils and that schools with very able intakes are helping students reach their full potential rather than allowing them to coast along.
"The tables now show expected and actual performance for low, middle and high-attaining pupils so that schools can be judged on whether they are improving all their students."
At 14:00:21 in WorldAfghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah remains the frontrunner with 80% of votes counted, officials say.
At 13:54:55 in BusinessPublic sector union Unison is to ballot local government workers and school staff in England for strikes after members rejected a 1% pay offer.
At 13:54:06 in ScotlandA man who throttled a 12-year-old girl until she collapsed unconscious has been ordered to carry out unpaid community work.
At 13:52:47 in SportNorthampton Saints have made four changes for their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Harlequins.
At 13:45:28 in EnglandThree men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a man at a flat in Peterborough.
At 13:44:57 in HealthSeven-year-olds are happier when they are allowed some sweets, snacks and television time, rather than none at all, suggests a study of children's well-being.
At 13:44:36 in EnglandThe M25 in Hertfordshire is blocked in both directions after an articulated lorry caught fire on the anti-clockwise carriageway, police said.
At 13:44:16 in ScotlandPolice have announced a crackdown on fans attempting to carry fireworks into this weekend's Edinburgh derby.
At 13:43:39 in EnglandA "rigorous investigation" is under way at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) after three so-called "never events" in under a month.
At 13:43:23 in EnglandA waste firm has been fined £13,500 for causing bad odours around its processing site.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Grammar schools in tougher ranking call [Online] (Updated 3rd May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426177/Grammar-schools-in-tougher-ranking-call [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Supporters of Scottish independence have questioned why the BBC has not resigned from the CBI over the business group's referendum stance.
Public sector union Unison is to ballot local government workers and school staff in England for strikes after members rejected a 1% pay offer.
Plans to hold a three-day music festival in Ceredigion have been scrapped after organisers withdrew their application.
Seven-year-olds are happier when they are allowed some sweets, snacks and television time, rather than none at all, suggests a study of children's well-being.
Shots have been fired at a house in west Belfast in an incident being treated as a hate crime by police.
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a man at a flat in Peterborough.