National Grammar Schools Association
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"Comprehensives fail the average children most"

October 2001 - The Sunday Times

"Further evidence of the importance of Grammar Schools in Selective areas is demonstrated by the latest research from N.F.E.R. - The impact of Selection on Pupil Performance" by Ian Schagen and Sandie Schagen, presented at the NFER Council meeting 19th Oct 2001. This endorsement of selection in secondary education is being notably ignored by the anti-grammar school lobby - and has not been deemed worthy of mention in the TES"

The following is an extract from the Sunday Times - By Geraldine Hackett - October 2001


Do we need to find a grammar school for our children? We have read that new research suggests comprehensives fail bright children. Is that true?

This research deals comprehensives a body blow and ministers are going to have to think about their plans to improve schools.

What is so devastating about the latest findings, from the National Foundation for Educational Research, is that they suggest grammars get better results with average children and just above average children than comprehensives.

In fact, one of the more remarkable findings is that very bright children appear to do just as well at comprehensives - it is those who might have just scraped into a grammar that miss out. The study found that by the age of 14, grammar school pupils were as much as a year aheah of equally bright children who went to a comprehensive.

It may be that grammars make more use of the first two years in secondary, known by many secondary teachers as "the dosser years".

Labour is opposed to selection and the number of grammars has fallen to 164. They exist in substantial numbers only in Kent and Bucks. In other areas, competition for places is intense.

Some comprehensives hold their own against grammars, but if Labour is to bring about the promised improvements in secondary education it will have to reverse the low aspirations of many. If your children are particularly bright you may not have to worry, but if they are around the average, they might be better at a grammar... if you can find one.