National Grammar Schools Association
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Pupils shine brightest at grammar schools

17th December 2003

The Times

Tony Blair’s pledge to transform the country’s ‘bog standard’ comprehensives suffers a severe setback today with the publication of new government rankings showing the superiority of grammar schools.

In an embarrassment to opponents of selection, the first league table to assess the quality of teaching in state secondary schools, as distinct from the raw ability of pupils, is dominated by grammars.

Out of the top 20 schools in the ‘value-added’ table, which records the improvements made by pupils between the age of 11 and 14, only one, St Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath, is a comprehensive.

The findings also suggest that grammar schools are better at retaining the interest and motivation of pupils - and boys in particular - as they make the transition from primary to secondary schools.

The Times front page, 17 December 2003.

The evidence of today’s tables is awkward for ministers... That the remaining grammar schools not only attract the strongest pupils at the age of 11, but are then the most effective at stretching them furthest over the next three years of their education, is at the very least politically embarrassing.

There are several lessons to be learnt... The true challenge now is to inspire some of the grammar school ethos into more schools in the mainstream maintained sector.

The Times leader, 17 December 2003.