No academic benefit to attending a partially selective school, research suggests

Pupils attending partially selective schools are not necessarily better off in comparison to non-selective, research has shown.

According to research carried out by the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER), students at partially selective schools have “no overall academic benefit” in comparison to those attending non-selective institutions.

In addition to this, the analysis shows that some of the outcomes for pupils with low prior attainment are worse at partially selective schools than for those at non-selective.

The NFER collected information from 38 partially selective schools in England that select more than ten per cent of pupils and it was found that pupils with higher attainment make less progress in maths in partial schools.

In addition to this, pupils with low prior attainment are significantly less likely to achieve five good GCSEs, including maths and English, the report says.

The research also led to the conclusion that “some partially selective schools have over-complex admissions policies and over-subscription criteria” that could act as an “additional barrier to applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

NFER chief executive, Carole Willis, said: “Schools are already coping with considerable change in an education landscape that is continuing to evolve.

“Further changes need to be based on sound analysis of whether they are likely to achieve the desired outcomes.

“This analysis suggests partial selection is not an effective way of increasing the number of good school places.”

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