16 December 2016
In response to the government’s education Green Paper 'Schools that work for everyone', Professor Tom McLeish FRS, Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee said:
“New research commissioned by the Royal Society shows that in wholly selective local authorities, students receiving free school meals (FSM) achieve lower grades in GCSE mathematics. In these areas there are also fewer FSM students taking double or triple science GCSEs. These are subjects which open doors for young people.
“Social mobility is a complex issue. We support the Government’s commitment to ensuring all students fulfil their potential regardless of their background. However, we are concerned that the approach to selective education outlined in the Green Paper may only support the small number of high ability disadvantaged pupils who do attend selective schools, at the cost of disadvantaged pupils who do not.
“Schools that work for everyone must place priority on ensuring that all young people receive high-quality science and mathematics education which equips students with the skills they need to prosper in a rapidly changing world. Irrespective of the role of selective schools in our education system, our schools must support students from every background to fulfill their potential.”