Extracts from


Evidence on the effects of  selective educational systems A report for the Sutton Trust

by Robert Coe, Karen Jones, Jeff Searle, Dimitra Kokotsaki, Azlina Mohd Kosnin, Paul Skinner, CEM Centre, Durham University, UK

www.cemcentre.org, October 2008



“The majority of studies (and all of those we judge to be methodologically strongest) report that pupils who attend grammar schools do better than equally able pupils in comprehensives. This is true both for those that used national datasets and those based on the NCDS data.”

“We have also failed to find any evidence of collateral harm to any other schools, arising from the existence of grammar schools. Overall, schools are just as likely to be performing well, whether or not they are ‘creamed’ by a grammar school. Hence, on the basis of KS4 performance at least, there do not appear to be strong grounds for abolishing selection as it currently operates.” [Page 236]


“Different qualifications taken at KS4 are not of equal difficulty, and the points awarded to ‘equivalent’ qualifications do not necessarily reflect this…Overall, more able pupils tend to take harder qualifications, and those in grammar schools even harder still. Any comparison of grades achieved should therefore take account of these differences (Section 6.4, p144).”


“The most socially selective state schools in the country are ‘nonselective’ schools. These socially selective schools are more likely to be Voluntary Aided or CTCs, to be single sex, faith schools, larger than average and drawing from more competed wards.”


“In terms of raw KS4 (GCSE) results, it is clear that pupils in grammar schools do much better.”


“The schools that are affected by grammar schools, in terms of losing pupils to them, are performing no differently from all other schools (Section 8.3.4, 215). Although these analyses

indicate that grammar school pupils appear to make greater progress from KS2 to KS4 than other pupils, we also find that these same pupils were already making more progress from KS1 to KS2 (ie in their primary school).”  [All the above from the Executive Summary, pages iii to vi.]