Grammar Schools: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd November 2020.

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Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the evidence underpinning his Department’s guidance to local authorities to postpone Grammar School entry tests until November for 2021-22 entry.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

It is unlikely that children will have performed at the best of their ability at the beginning of September this year and were likely to benefit from as much time back in education as possible before being assessed. Several studies have shown that disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected by the period of school closure.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that children in higher income families spent more time on home education than those from poorer families and also had greater access to home teaching resources. The Education Endowment Foundation median estimate is that the attainment gap between children from economically deprived households and their peers could widen by 36% as a result of school closures. See here: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14848 and here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/EEF_(2020)_-_Impact_of_School_Closures_on_the_Attainment_Gap.pdf.

Our guidance is that, in these circumstances, it would be reasonable for tests to be moved back into late October, or to November if local admission co-ordination processes allow, but the decision rests with admission authorities.

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