Our analysis highlights how family background shapes educational achievement and what policy can do to weaken the link

There is not yet a proven route to help disadvantaged pupils into grammar schools

Sections of the Tory party seem determined to open new grammar schools, or at least to expand provision at existing grammar schools. One condition of grammar expansion is likely to be that they make a greater effort to ensure that children from low income families can secure places. A minority of the existing 163 grammar [...]

By | September 8th, 2016|Admissions, Pupil demographics|

At what age should we segregate our children?

Academic selection into separate schools tends to polarise commentators into those that think it is acceptable and those who think it is wrong. And yet most people agree that selection is acceptable at 18 and wrong at age 4. So the point of contention is surely what the right age to allow academic selection is. [...]

By | August 30th, 2016|Admissions, Pupil demographics|

Changing the subject: why pushing pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to take more academic subjects may not be such a bad thing

Today, Sutton Trust published our report on the 300 secondary schools who transformed their curriculum between 2010 and 2013 in response to government policy, achieving a rise in the proportion of pupils entering the EBacc from 8% to 48%. Understanding the experiences of pupils in these schools gives us a little window on what might [...]

Where have London’s disadvantaged pupils gone?

One of the most interesting figures in Tuesday’s statistical first release on pupils in state-funded schools was the fall in the percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals to the lowest level recorded since the introduction of the School Census in January 2002. Of course, it's well-known that free school meal eligibility is an [...]

By | June 30th, 2016|Pupil demographics|

Who wants to go to university? How attainment affects aspirations (and aspirations affect attainment)

In the past few weeks both CentreForum (in conjunction with our very own Mike Treadaway) and the Social Market Foundation have published reports on education. Both reports discuss gaps in attainment between pupils from different family backgrounds, drawing attention to the importance of education for social mobility. Education is usually seen as an important factor in [...]

By | February 16th, 2016|Post-16 provision, Pupil demographics|

Every school contains a story of how educational inequalities emerge

At the launch of the Social Market Foundation’s Commission into Educational Inequalities a couple of weeks ago, the observation that regional inequalities had widened since the 1970s garnered a great deal of interest. The analysis released by the Commission was just a starting point and I, alongside the other Commissioners (Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, [...]

By | January 28th, 2016|Exams and assessment, Pupil demographics|

The quest to find ‘London Effect’ – why are some groups of pupils making more progress than they used to?

A lot has been written in the search for a credible explanation for the improvement in attainment in London’s schools since the turn of the century. It now seems that London’s schools have disproportionately benefited from improvements to the education system as a whole, with similar pupils and schools elsewhere in England improving by roughly [...]

By | December 17th, 2015|Pupil demographics|

It’s grim up north/The north will rise again: Some thoughts on Ofsted’s annual report

Ofsted today published its state of the nation annual report. Geographic inequalities in attainment featured prominently: “There are 16 local authority areas in England where less than 60% of the children attend good or outstanding secondary schools, have lower than national GCSE attainment and make less than national levels of expected progress. All but three [...]

By | December 1st, 2015|Pupil demographics|

Does ability-based selection have to increase inequalities in education?

The decision to allow a new grammar school to open in Kent drew a lot of media attention recently. With the exception of grammar schools, state schools in England are required to admit children irrespective of their ability. A number of developed countries do have school systems, however, which select children into different-ability schools at [...]

By | November 19th, 2015|Admissions, Pupil demographics|