Know Your Limits!

. This extended post challenges the argument that all learners can be high attainers. It sets out the various strands of this argument, highlighting the weaker links and illustrating them with the assistance of two case studies, both branded school improvement strategies. It uses PISA 2015 data to demonstrate that none of the world's leading … Continue reading Know Your Limits!

Rounding-up: Killer stats and 10-point plan

. This post compiles some of the most recent and telling statistics about the state of high attainment in England. It includes a brief summary of the policy position as it stands ahead of the government’s response to the selection green paper. Finally it outlines a ten point improvement plan which does not involve building … Continue reading Rounding-up: Killer stats and 10-point plan

Troubling TIMSS trends

. This post reassesses Progress against the government’s national performance targets and The comparative performance of England’s high attaining pupils following publication of  the TIMSS 2015 international comparisons study. . About TIMSS The results of the 2015 Trends in Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) were published at the end of November 2016. TIMSS is a … Continue reading Troubling TIMSS trends

Advancing by slow degrees

. This post reports five-year trends in the admission of disadvantaged students to selective universities, as revealed by the government’s key stage 5 destinations data. This half decade coincided almost exactly with the lifetime of a government that was strongly committed to social mobility through higher education. What does the destinations data reveal about the … Continue reading Advancing by slow degrees

Do grammar schools close attainment gaps?

.  This experimental post revisits the question whether all grammar schools are effective in closing attainment gaps between disadvantaged students and their peers. Ministers have asserted as much in recent speeches, but they are relying on a single piece of research, now more than a decade old. The Education Policy Institute has countered with qualified … Continue reading Do grammar schools close attainment gaps?

The Politics of Selection: Grammar Schools and Disadvantage

Reblogging this post published in November 2014 on my Gifted Phoenix Blog.

Gifted Phoenix

This post considers how England’s selective schools are addressing socio-economic disadvantage.

Another irrelevant Norwegian vista by Gifted Phoenix Another irrelevant Norwegian vista by Gifted Phoenix

It is intended as an evidence base against which to judge various political statements about the potential value of selective education as an engine of social mobility.

It does not deal with recent research reports about the historical record of grammar schools in this respect. These show that – contrary to received wisdom – selective education has had a very limited impact on social mobility.

Politicians of all parties would do well to acknowledge this, rather than attempting (as some do) to perpetuate the myth in defiance of the evidence.

This post concentrates instead on the current record of these schools, recent efforts to strengthen their capacity to support the Government’s gap closing strategy and prospects for the future.

It encourages advocates of increased selection to consider the wider question of how…

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Ofqual’s W-turn on GCSE grade 9

. Ofqual is attempting a double-U-turn on how to define grade 9 in the new GCSE scale. This will affect the highest attaining learners in all our schools, all staff who teach them and all those who rely on GCSE grades to select high-attaining students, including university admissions staff. It also has implications for the performance … Continue reading Ofqual’s W-turn on GCSE grade 9

Why isn’t pupil premium closing excellence gaps?

. This post:   Reviews the most recent statistical evidence of attainment gaps between disadvantaged high attainers and their peers. Questions why pupil premium is having no impact on these excellence gaps and Proposes action to close the gaps by raising attainment, so improving the life chances of these learners. .   Introduction I have … Continue reading Why isn’t pupil premium closing excellence gaps?