Theresa May’s bid to boost grammar schools was dealt another blow after a fresh study blew apart claims the selective institutions benefited schoolchildren. The Huffington Post reports
A study by the UCL Institute of Education found grammar schools had no positive impact on a teenager in terms of self-esteem, aspirations for the future or academic attainment by age 14.
Researchers analysed data from 883 children in England and 733 children in Northern Ireland, which has a grammar school system throughout, with similar backgrounds and found little difference between the two groups.
Professor John Jerrim, lead author of the study, said: “Our findings suggest that the money the Government is planning to spend on grammar school expansion is unlikely to bring benefits for young people.
“Even those children who are likely to fill these new places are unlikely to be happier, more engaged at school or have higher levels of academic achievement by the end of Year 9.”
They looked at the results of tests taken in English, mathematics, verbal and non-verbal reasoning at the ages of three, five, seven and 11, as well as a vocabulary test at the age of 14, and compared results from those who went on to attend a grammar school and those who did not.
Children were also given a series of questionnaires at the ages of 11 and 14 to gauge their thoughts on mental health, engagement at school, well-being and interaction with peers.
Josh Hillman, director of education at the Nuffield Foundation, which funded the study, said: “These findings are important because they show for the first time the impact of attending grammar schools on a wide range of outcomes, such as young people’s self-confidence, academic self-esteem and aspirations for the future.”
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