Skip to main content

The Good Schools Guide Blog

 

Grammar schoolOne criticism of grammar schools is that they take a disproportionate number of children from privileged backgrounds. A far smaller number of grammar school pupils receive the pupil premium than pupils in comprehensive schools.

Whatever the reasons for this, we now learn that grammar schools are expecting to ask parents for "donations" to enable them to maintain the breadth of the curriculum they offer.

Many grammar school parents - especially those in the prosperous Home Counties eg Bucks, Surrey, Kent which boast a number of such schools - already delighted that they are not paying for independent schooling but are getting the next best thing in terms of a free academic education in a selective setting - will have no objections to this, other, perhaps, than vaguely left-of -centre ideological ones.

But others will undoubtedly be deterred. Single parents, those on low incomes whose bright children would otherwise be dead certs for precious grammar school places will worry, understandably, that the £30 or £40 a month now being suggested will stretch the family budget too far - and then, what if it becomes £50 or £60 a month and simply cannot be managed?

Grammar schools will become de facto fee-paying schools, available only to the haves.

We learn today that working class people are still earning less than those from middle class backgrounds with the same qualifications: www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38744122.

On her assumption of her current role, the Prime Minister said:

I want Britain to be the world’s great meritocracy – a country where everyone has a fair chance to go as far as their talent and their hard work will allow.

I want us to be a country where everyone plays by the same rules; where ordinary, working class people have more control over their lives and the chance to share fairly in the prosperity of the nation.

And I want Britain to be a place where advantage is based on merit not privilege; where it’s your talent and hard work that matter, not where you were born, who your parents are or what your accent sounds like.

Whatever you feel about grammar schools, asking parents to pay for their children to attend, can only make such noble ideals increasingly remote.

by

Related articles


  • Moving the desks won’t make the results better

    Bernadette John, our Director of Special Educational Needs, despairs at yet another pointless idea from The Department of Education The school admissions system is, apparently, now taking the blame for the lack of social mobility which is blighting opportunities and depriving the nation of much-needed talent.

  • Sad stories of wasted opportunities for children in need

    Buttle UK is a charity which supports disadvantaged children. One of its more imaginative and bolder initiatives has been to fund places at boarding schools for children who are thought likely to benefit from the opportunities this would provide. The project has been sensitively designed so as not to create divisions between children and their own families and social milieu.

  • Time and places

    The initial furore over National Offer Day is over - although, of course, the next one - Primary School Offer Day - is only six weeks away and we'll have to go through the whole miserable experience again. We, at The Good Schools Guide, along with everyone else, get worked up on behalf of children who are not allocated their first choice school or, far more worrying, children who get offered none of their six choices. It isn't good enough and shouldn't be happening.

  • Still under covers?

    Viewers tuning in for the Downton slot on Sunday night will have got something of a jolt – instead of cosy escapism, they were confronted by a brutal tale of death row executions and family betrayals (Undercover, BBC1).

  • School reports

    Back to school this week. It's the term of public exams, sports days, school trips, expeditions and tours, art exhibitions, tennis and cricket, summer concerts and plays, charity events, end of year reports and - we hope - sunlit fun.


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews, data and catchment:

Comprehensive catchment maps for English state schools inc. year of entry.
 School exam results by subject and performance GCSE, Alevel or equivalent.
 Which schools pupils come from and go onto.
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of more than 1,100+ schools.
 Overall school performance by GCSE, Alevel or equivalent.
 School data comparison by A/B weighted, relative success and popularity.
 Compare schools by qualities and results.
 Independent tutor company reviews.

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark
 

The Good Schools Guide subscription

 GSG Blog >    In the news >

Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Last chance to appeal for secondary schools


Just published - The Good Schools Guide 21st edition - 1200 schools fully reviewed and updated. Buy now