Grammar schools offer ‘pitifully few’ places to poorer children

Claims by Theresa May that grammar schools have proved to be great engines of social mobility have been undermined by figures showing that the vast majority of grammars admit only a tiny proportion of children from the poorest families.

As pupils return after the Christmas break, official figures show that in many grammar schools, less than 1% of the total pupil intake receives free school meals (an indicator of the poorest families). Only one of the 163 selective schools in England takes in more than 10% from this least well-off group.

Critics of May’s plans to expand the number of grammar schools – one of her few firm policy announcements since entering No 10 last July – say the figures expose her central justification for the controversial plans as entirely bogus, as better-off families tend to monopolise school places at the expense of the poor. Read More