December 2003

The National Audit Office has produced a report entitled:

"Making a difference: performance of maintained schools in England"

It contains a great deal of very interesting material but paragraph 2.16 makes excellent reading

Selective schools


  1. Our analysis suggests that on average, across their range of pupils, the 164 selective schools in England made a bigger difference to the academic achievements of pupils than the average for other schools at Key Stage 3, but a smaller difference at GCSE level.
  2. The difference made by selective schools at both Key Stage 3 and GCSE level appear to be of particular benefit to pupils who have a relatively low level of prior academic achievement.
  3. We also examinded whether the presence of selective schools in a local education authority had an impact on the performance of other schools in the authority, but our analysis showed no significant effect.

These conclusions further undermine the case of anti selective education campaigners in three key areas:

    1. Overall achievement
    2. Value added especially for borderline youngsters.
    3. The negative impact of selective schools. SKS has long argued that of greater significance is the variation in performance between schools of the same type rather than between schools of different types.
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