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Grammar schools 'must demand more'


Grammar schools may be failing to challenge their more able pupils and should raise expectations at GCSE level, a report has suggested.

The study claims the current benchmark of five A*-Cs, including English and maths, is too low and should be set at five As or A*s for brighter students.

It also showed considerable regional variance in the performance of grammar schools.

The report's author, Professor David Jesson, of the University of York, advocates increasing the bar and potentially extending this to other schools as a way of assessing their impact on the most able youngsters.

"Grammar schools should expect to achieve high levels of performance for their pupils and most do," Prof Jesson said. "There are, however, substantial differences between grammar schools' outcomes which tend to go unnoticed in the standard performance tables."

In his Great Expectations report, he observes "coasting" or under-performance could have gone undetected. He also suggests standards could be pushed up across the board.

While changes in expectations could raise the bar "substantially" in some schools, he argues many would be offered a "fresh challenge to match the best that others have shown to be possible".

His report forms part of a debate on school performance measures launched by The Schools Network, an independent, not-for-profit organisation which represents more than 5,000 schools and academies.

Prof Jesson, associate director of The Schools Network, based his conclusions on a fresh analysis of grammar school performance.

Sue Williamson, the organisation's chief executive, said: "Schools are always looking to raise the bar and to push all of their pupils further. Our members recognise that every pupil is different and that every child has talent which schools must strive to make the most of."

https://www.ssatrust.org.uk/Pages/home.aspx(The Schools Network)

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