The Great School Scam is laid bare

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Peter Hitchens -

NOTE how the main­stream me­dia have al­most en­tirely ig­nored a new and dev­as­tat­ing re­port about our few re­main­ing gram­mar schools.

The sur­vey of ev­i­dence, by the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy In­sti­tute, de­stroys a num­ber of favourite claims by the com­pre­hen­sive lobby.

Here is what it says. Ar­eas which have aca­dem­i­cally se­lec­tive schools are far bet­ter than com­pre­hen­sive ar­eas at get­ting state school pupils into Oxbridge and top uni­ver­si­ties.

For ex­am­ple, the tiny few 163 sur­viv­ing gram­mars send more black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic pupils to Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity than all 1,849 com­pre­hen­sive schools com­bined.

By us­ing a more re­al­is­tic def­i­ni­tion of low-in­come than the ‘free school meals’ test usu­ally ap­plied, the re­port also shows that any pupil from a less well-off home is far more likely to get into a good uni­ver­sity from a gram­mar school than from a com­pre­hen­sive.

The huge ‘at­tain­ment gap’ be­tween pupils from poorer and bet­ter-off homes, a real prob­lem in this coun­try’s schools, is al­most elim­i­nated in gram­mar schools.

And, by the way, even de­spite the siege of gram­mar schools by mid­dle-class par­ents try­ing to get their chil­dren into good schools with­out pay­ing fees, 45 per cent of gram­mar school pupils come from house­holds be­low the me­dian in­come level.

At ev­ery turn, this doc­u­ment makes non­sense of the ed­u­ca­tion in­dus­try’s con­tin­ued dogged de­fence of the failed com­pre­hen­sive ex­per­i­ment.

I have to keep ask­ing why our Es­tab­lish­ment is so blind to the blaz­ingly ob­vi­ous.

And why this ter­ri­ble mis­take, which hurt the coun­try as well as de­stroy­ing the hopes of mil­lions, is not put right.

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