Fewer poorer pupils go to grammar schools

Senior academic, Professor Alice Sullivan is a professor of sociology at the University College London, says that the main reason grammar schools were an “unlikely tool for promoting social mobility”is that working class children were far less likely than richer children to attend them.

Figures from the Department for Education support her comments:

  • Only 9% of pupils at grammar schools are in receipt of pupil premium; 53% of pupils in grammar schools are from families classed as ‘income above median’
  • In non-selective schools the ratios are far more equal: 32% of pupils are in receipt of pupil premium, 35% are from families with income ‘below median’ and 32% are from families with income ‘above median’ (2% income unknown).

The future of grammar schools in the UK will likely depend on the outcome of this week’s general election, with the Conservatives intending to allow the creation of more grammar schools, which had previously been halted by Labour governments in the 1960s, under the belief that ‘selective education system reinforced class division and middle-class privilege‘. There are now only about 163 selective schools in the UK, out of some 3,000 state secondary schools.

Helen Robinson