A new study led by John Jerrim at UCL Institute of Education suggests that private tutoring may be one reason that children from high-income families are more likely to get into grammar schools than children from low-income families.
The research, which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, uses data from the Millennium Cohort Study for more than 1,800 children from grammar school areas in England and Northern Ireland. It considers how factors such as family income, prior academic achievement, private tutoring and parental attitudes and aspirations are linked with children’s chances of attending a grammar school.
The study finds that:
- Children from families in the bottom quarter of household incomes in England have less than a 10% chance of attending a grammar school. This compares to around a 40% chance for children in the top quarter of household incomes.
- Children who receive tutoring to prepare for grammar school entrance exams are also more likely to get in.
- Overall, around 70% of those who receive tutoring get into a grammar school, compared to just 14% of those who do not.
- However, less than 10% of children from families with below average income receive tutoring for the grammar school entrance test, compared with around 30% of children from households in the top quarter of family incomes.
The authors conclude that access to grammar school is not determined by academic ability alone. One of their suggestions is to place an additional tax upon tutoring services and use the raised funds to provide low and middle-income families with subsidised or free private tuition.
Source (Open Access) : Jerrim, J. & Sims, S. (2018). Why do so few low and middle-income children attend a grammar school? New evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study. Retrieved from https://johnjerrim.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/working_paper_nuffield_version_clean.pdf