Document Abstract

The impact of selective secondary education on progression to higher education: occasional paper no 19

Examines the impact of selective grammar schools in England on progression to higher education, considering various groups of pupils and focusing particularly on progression to highly-selective education and to Oxbridge. Considers the chances of children from different groups getting into a grammar school and how those children who do get in perform. Draws on data from the Department for Education. Assesses the impact of specialist Maths schools. Explores attitudes to grammar school expansion across different socio-economic classes, and considers why the public are more supportive of grammar schools than educational experts. Shows that: selective areas perform better than non-selective areas at enabling progression to highly-selective universities, a differential that increases further with regards to progression to Oxbridge; pupils from the most disadvantaged POLAR quintile are more than twice as likely to progress to Oxbridge if they live in a selective area rather than a non-selective area; and England’s 163 grammar schools send more than 30% more Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students to Cambridge than all 1,849 non-selective schools combined. Concludes that with 45% of grammar school pupils coming from households with below median income, grammar schools play a significant role in supporting social mobility. Recommends expansion of the Selective School Expansion Fund to allow grammar school branch sites in disadvantaged areas, where this is supported by the relevant local authority, and expansion of the number of Maths schools.


This document is not available to download directly from Research Online. Wherever possible a web link has been included to access the document via the publisherÂ’s website - please check below. If not, the document can be obtained directly from the source organisation or publisher. Skills Development Scotland cannot guarantee that the organisation will not charge for the document.

Web link

View more documents

Other page options

Publication information

Mansfield, Iain
Ref No:
Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)

Download Adobe Reader

Notes for Idox Members

Get the latest updates from Skills Development Scotland