Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This is the wrong time to be earmarking an additional £50m a year for Grammar School expansion.
“The government cannot point to a single piece of evidence that shows a strong educational benefit of expanding selection at eleven. And yet there’s a wealth of evidence that suggests selective education actually widens the achievement gap between poor pupils and their more affluent peers.
“Nationally, around 13% of pupils are eligible for the Pupil Premium, yet across the existing 163 Grammar Schools, only 2.5% of pupils are eligible. In areas of the country where there is a high proportion of selective schools, the gap in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged is greatest (on average, a 34% attainment gap compared to a 28% gap nationally). At a local level, selection appears to be lowering standards.
“This money should be spent for the benefit of all children, not just the tiny number who attend grammar schools. Funds like this would have much more impact on opportunities for disadvantaged young people targeted either in the Early Years or at schools which, at present, they typically attend.”
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