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A poor advert for a grammar school education

by Laurence Rowe published May 29, 2007 04:14 PM

Silly Tory. Just when Cameron thought he'd put a lid on his grammar school row along comes Graham Brady, Shadow Europe Minister, former grammar school pupil and puts his foot in it. According to the Times, Mr Brady's figures show that "in comprehensive areas with no selection, 42.6 per cent of GCSE pupils get 5 or more A* to C grades in subjects including English and maths. This rises to 46 per cent in partially selective areas and 49.8 per cent in wholly selective areas where all pupils take the 11 plus."

Now lets step back and think about this a minute. Where are the remaining grammar schools? By and large in fairly rich areas, certainly wealthier than average. Academic attainment is well known to correlate strongly with parental income. Mr Brady has made the basic mistake of comparing apples to oranges. By comparing grammars with the totality of schools across the country Brady renders his figures meaningless. Had he compared similar areas (perhaps picking comprehensive local education authorities with similar levels of free school meals) to compare to he may have had something interesting to say. It's no surprise that the only professor the Times could find to support him was from The University of Buckingham, the UK's "first and only privately-financed university".

Most worrying of all: If Cameron was in power this man would be in Government.

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