Grammar schools 'should have greater exam expectations of pupils'
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 03 May 2012
Grammar schools should have greater expectations of their pupils when it comes to exam passes, according to a study published today.
They should be ranked on the percentage of their pupils getting five A* or A grade passes rather than A* to Cs, according to a report by Professor David Jesson, – an acknowledged expert on school performance.
Professor Jesson, from York University, says there is “considerable regional variation” in the performance of England’s 164 remaining grammar schools.
However, this is often missed in current league table s because their high ability intakes mean they are still amongst the better performers at GCSE nationwide.
His report concludes that some grammar schools “perform at below expected levels”.
For instance, 75 per cent of pupils in grammar schools in outer London obtain five A* or A grade passes at GCSe including maths and English compared to just 44 per cent in eastern England.
“There are alongside particular instances of really outstanding results from individual schools, others where performances are well below those achieved by similar pupils in other grammar schools,” says the report.
Professor Jesson, who carried out his research for the Schools Network – which represents academies and specialist secondary schools, said: “Grammar schools should expect to achieve high levels of performance for their pupils and most do.
“There are, however, substantial differences between grammar schools’ outcomes which ten to go unnoticed in the standard performance tables.
“If we are genuinely committed to the idea of excellence for all we need a new way of measuring the performance of these schools and making sure that every pupil reaches their full potential.”
Currently, around 58 per cent of comprehensive school pupils achieve five or more A* to C grades at GCSE including maths and English – compared with 55 per cent in grammar schools achieving at least five A* or A grade passes including maths and English.
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