National Grammar Schools Association
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Extract from Hansard

20th January 2005

League Tables

Mr. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale, West) (Con): If she will make a statement on the relative performance in the value-added league tables of education authorities that operate selective and non-selective policies. [209681]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Mr. Ivan Lewis): Between key stage 2 and age 15, pupils in wholly selective local education authorities made more progress than pupils in partially selective or non-selective authorities. On average, that extra progress equates to pupils in wholly selective LEAs achieving approximately two grades higher in one GCSE than in non-selective LEAs. However, between key stage 3 and age 15, there was little difference between LEAs. Value-added measures currently take no account of the proportion of pupils in schools who are especially vulnerable, including children with special educational needs and children in care.

Mr. Brady: I am grateful to the Minister for confirming that selective areas perform better than comprehensive areas on the value-added measures. In fact, five of the top 10 LEAs use selection. Grammar schools perform much better than comprehensive schools and secondary high schools perform as well as comprehensive schools. Is not it true that for those of us who did not have the advantage of the expensive public school education of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and the Prime Minister, selective schools and selective education areas offer better results to children throughout the country? Is not it time that the Government dropped their mindless opposition to grammar schools and allowed them to expand in the same way as other good schools?

Mr. Lewis: The real issue is that the education policies of the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister are about supporting every child in fulfilling their potential, in stark contrast to the Conservatives when they were in government. Of course, we celebrate the achievements of all schools in this country, but I am disappointed that the hon. Gentleman did not focus on the big story that is emerging from our education system: inner-city schools are performing at the levels we have wanted for decades, directly as a result of the Government's investment and reform programme. We shall accelerate that programme, for the development of foundation specialist schools and new city academies and to reform the curriculum and qualifications for 11 to 19-year-olds.

Let us be clear about the dividing line between the two parties on these issues. The Conservatives want to introduce selection at five and reintroduce selection –

Mr. Speaker: Order. I call Dr. Iddon…