Grammars and faith schools raise standards ‘because it makes them compete’

Freeing schools from council control raises academic attainment because it makes them compete, a study suggests. The Daily Mail reports.

Researchers at the London School of Economics found that a mix of academies, free schools, faith schools and grammars can drive up standards. They said the schools vie with each other to achieve better results and to attract pupils.

“It’s the competition effect that appears to dominate here,’ said Gabriel Heller-Sahlgren, who led the study. ‘It appears to be that it’s the competition from these privately operated schools that raises achievement.’ 

They found a pattern in which independently run schools increased choice and competition across a nation’s education system. In Britain these schools included fee-paying ones as well as state schools outside council control.

The researchers found that increased competition sharpened the focus on academic achievement – leading to the adoption of learning tools which, although academically effective, were not necessarily inspiring or enjoyable for their pupils.

But the study said the positive effects on academic achievement appear to outweigh the negative impacts on pupil wellbeing. It comes amid a row over the role of grammars in Britain’s educational landscape.

The study, which was based on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, was published in the Economics of Education Review.

Read more Grammars and faith schools raise standards ‘because it makes them compete

Results over pupils wellbeing again. Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Academies, Exams, Faith Schools, Free Schools, Grammar Schools, Local authorities and Private Schools.


  1. And this really needed a ‘study’ to find it out? It’s obvious common-sense! And please, everybody who thinks they are ‘something’ in education needs to step back and accept that pupils’ wellbeing is parents’ responsibility, not the school system’s. Academia is what schools are there for, and if they can’t do that, they shouldn’t be in existence.

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