Congress opposes the expansion of selection in England’s schools by whatever means – either through the establishment of new grammar schools, or by allowing free schools to select some of their intake.
Congress notes that there is no evidence that grammar schools provide a route for poor, academically able children to achieve better life chances. Nearly all grammar schools have fewer than 10 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals. Ninety-eight of the 164 grammar schools have fewer than 3 per cent and 21 have fewer than 1 per cent. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that deprived children are significantly less likely to go to a grammar school than their more advantaged peers, even when they do they achieve the same academic levels aged 11. Nor have grammar schools ever been a vehicle for social mobility – even in their heyday in the 1950s and 60s a pitiful 0.3 per cent of grammar school pupils with two ‘A’ levels were from the skilled working class.
These inequalities of birth, exacerbated by academic selection, continue throughout life. The average hourly wage difference between the richest 10 per cent and the poorest 10 per cent of earners in grammar school areas is over four pounds more than in non-selective areas. But the blight caused by academic selection at 11 is not just economic – the damage done to ‘11+ failures’ can last throughout life, affecting self-worth, ambition and confidence.
Congress asks the TUC to work with all the education unions, and all stakeholders, including parents, to oppose any increase in academic selection.
Mover: Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Seconder: National Union of Teachers
Issued: 13 September, 2016