UK govt should scrap grammar schools: Report

February 4th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by admin  

London, Feb 4 (ANI): A UK government-funded report suggests that grammar schools should be scrapped to make the education system fairer for pupils from deprived backgrounds.

The study for the Department for Children, Schools and Families found that
faith schools and academic selection are contributing to segregation between rich and poor.

The report backed wider use of lotteries to allocate school places and raised the prospect of phasing out England’s 164 remaining selective grammars.

The research suggested that popular faith schools could also be forced to take a quota of children from families with no religious beliefs.

“Fair and just policies on school admissions are an important mark of commitment by governments to equality of opportunity,” The Independent quoted the study, as stating.

“Selection by prior attainment is also largely selection by social background. One option would be to phase out selective schools. Another is to require the admissions authorities for grammar schools to ensure equal social representation among those who qualify on the 11-plus test.”

The report, conducted by academics at Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Social Research, claims that faith and grammar schools are socially exclusive, taking a larger proportion of children from wealthier homes.

The study criticised the growth of specialist secondary schools with the right to select up to 10 per cent of their pupils on aptitude for a particular subject, such as music or maths.

The researchers said that selecting pupils on their aptitude for, say, music or languages is not the same as general academic selection.

However, they said wealthy families were better equipped to help their children develop these aptitudes.

“There are strong arguments to suggest that selection by aptitude is likely to be socially selective by default. A high relative attainment in any of the subjects (even sport) will involve expense of resources of time and money for travelling, equipment and training. More affluent families have more of these resources,” the report said.

Steve Sinnott, the NUT general secretary, said: “The study finally nails the lie that selection helps those from disadvantaged backgrounds. On the contrary, it widens the gap between the haves and have-nots. The solution must be to ensure fair and inclusive admissions procedures for all young people.” (ANI)

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