A 50-year study has found that children who attend grammar schools are no better off in terms of social mobility when compared with comprehensive pupils.
Researchers at the universities of Oxford and Bath Spa analysed data from the National Child Development Survey, which has tracked all children born in Britain in a particular week in 1958, reports the Daily Mail.
AdvertisementThey looked at children from all social backgrounds, rather than just those from working-class or low-income families, and compared children of similar measured ability at age 11.
They measured children's subsequent progress in terms of income and class and found that overall the selective schools gave no advantage in social mobility.
The researchers said that going to a grammar school rather than a comprehensive did not make children from poorer backgrounds more likely to be upwardly mobile.
They looked at a sample size for the analysis of class mobility of 4,728 children and 3,335 for its analysis of income mobility.
Vikki Boliver, from the Department of Social Sciences at Bath Spa University, said the study was the first of its type to analyse the full range of schools by including secondary moderns.
"Many bemoan the introduction of the comprehensive school as depriving academically-able children of a crucial ladder of opportunity. Our analysis provides a more rounded approach," she said.
"Looking at the full picture, rather than grammar schools alone, we find little to support the idea that comprehensive schools had a negative effect on their pupils/ mobility chances," said co-author Adam Swift, from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford.
The research is published in the British Journal of Sociology.
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