Azara Blog: Poor children do better if they go to good schools

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Date published: 2007/04/09

The BBC says:

Children who go to grammar schools in England achieve better grades than those of similar ability who are not in selective areas, researchers claim.

A Bristol University study suggested pupils from poorer backgrounds do particularly well.

But relatively few children from the poorest families go to grammar schools.

"If access could be widened then the case for keeping selective education would be greatly enhanced," it said.

The research examined the 19 education authorities - out of a total of 150 - that still have substantial academic selection for secondary schools.

This selection, at the age of 10, typically leads to 25% of pupils being chosen for the 164 remaining grammar schools.
Overall there is little or no impact on attainment, but the quarter of children educated in grammar schools do substantially better than their peers in similar non-selective areas.
"In part these effects stem from the substantive under-representation of poorer and special-needs children in grammar schools," said the academics, from Bristol's Centre for Market and Public Organisation.

The change in the social mix of schools raised attainment in the grammar schools but had "moderately adverse effects" for the rest.

"The paradox is that, for the minority of poor children who do gain a place in a grammar school, the advantage this bestows appears to be greater than for more affluent children," they reported.

"If access could be widened then the case for keeping selective education would be greatly enhanced."

What a surprise, if you put poor kids (in particular ones whose parents are pushy) into good schools they do better than if you leave them in poor schools. And the poor schools then also do worse on average, having lost these children. It's amazing this kind of useless "research" gets funded. They should just sack all educationalists and instead give the money to something useful, like the school system.

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