Azara Blog: Yet another tedious attack on grammar schools

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Date published: 2007/11/21

The BBC says:

England's grammar schools are "ghettos for the advantaged", doing little to alleviate poverty, an academic says.

Research by Professor David Jesson from York University showed just 2% of pupils in grammars received free school meals, compared with 13% nationally.

And in some grammars more than one third of pupils had come from fee-paying schools, he said.

Another study said grammars benefited pupils from lower and higher income groups - but again, access was unequal.
Professor Jesson said: "Far from providing 'ladders of opportunity' for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, grammar schools are more like 'ghettos of the advantaged'.

"Grammar schools do not offer a ladder of opportunity to any but a very small number of disadvantaged pupils.

"In fact, their recruitment policies tend to favour pupils from more prosperous communities where eligibility for free school meals and other measures of deprivation are at very low levels.

"Parents who can afford to send their children to private fee-paying schools have a distinct advantage in securing places at local grammar schools over pupils from state junior schools who are similarly able."

Well, Jesson obviously has an axe to grind, so anything he says has to be taken with a pinch of salt. The fact that he seems to believe that most people who send their children to private schools can "afford" to do so, shows how out of touch he is. Most people who send their children to private schools make great personal sacrifices to be able to do so. Grammar schools might not be perfect, but they are definitely better than anything Jesson and his ilk would replace them with (or have replaced them with in the past).

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