UK Grammar schools announce plan to give priority to disadvantaged pupils

Richard Adams:

Grammar schools in England are looking to break the middle-class stranglehold on selective state education by offering to rewrite their admissions codes to discriminate in favour of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

More than half of England’s 164 existing grammar schools – the survivors of England’s comprehensive school reforms in the 1960s and 1970s – say they plan to revise their admissions criteria to give priority to qualifying children who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) or the pupil premium.

The move follows a chorus of complaints that grammar schools favour the better off due to their reliance on entrance examinations such as the eleven-plus to select pupils. The Sutton Trust has published research showing that just 2.7% of grammar schools’ places went to pupils eligible for FSM, compared with around 20% in state schools nationally.