Critics are calling into question a Government plan to boost grammar schools with more money because the cash ‘will not boost outcomes’.
Research from University College London (UCL) says that selective state education offers pupils no social or emotional advantages by the time they reach 14, when compared with those who do not attend selective schools.
The moves by the government to pour money into grammar schools has been criticised by policymakers, unions and educationalists and the research is the latest to undermine the plan.
Other studies have suggested recently that grammar schools outperform their non-grammar school peers academically only because they select their students well and they do not increase social mobility.
Researchers looked at a range of emotional and social outcomes that are important to children and parents when they are choosing a school.
A selective state school delivered no positive impact
They found that attending a selective state school delivered no positive impact on the student’s attitudes toward self-esteem, their school, aspirations or even their range of English vocabulary.
The report’s lead author, Prof John Jerrim, said: “You have to question the wisdom for expanding grammar schools and putting in resources when they don’t seem to have any positive benefits.”
He added that with this lack of proof on the student’s lives and their academic achievement, the government should ‘stick with the status quo’.
The researchers selected children with similar academic achievements when they were at primary school and who came from families with similar education and income levels.
The only big difference they found in the study was that for self-esteem which for grammar school pupils proved to be worse.
£50 million fund to help expand grammar schools
The research comes just two weeks after the government unveiled a controversial £50 million fund to help expand grammar schools.
The chair of the Comprehensive Future campaign group, Melissa Benn, said: “How long will the government ignore the evidence? Will it call a halt to its plans for expanding selective education?”
The National Education Union says the research highlights that the government’s money could be better spent elsewhere.
The union’s join general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted said ‘this is not an appropriate use of public money’ when schools are struggling for funds.
The Department for Education says that pupils who come from disadvantaged schools tend to achieve better results when in selective schools.
He added that the government wants more children from all backgrounds to gain access to a world-class education and highlighted that selective schools applying for extra funds for expansion must be rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.