Centre Right think tank, CMRE, says increased selection is not a viable strategy for the education system as a whole
This is what Gabriel Sahlgren the Director of Research at the CMRE think tank said about selection in an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph on 8 May.
‘Conservatives have proposed academic selection. In this model, children would compete for places based on their performance. Parents wouldn’t just choose schools – but schools would choose pupils, too. This is not a viable strategy for the education system as a whole. Indeed, research suggests that between-school selection doesn’t raise performance overall, but often decreases equality. Rather than promoting a more cohesive country, selection may therefore merely divide us further.
Most importantly, academic selection decreases parental choice and risks the competitive incentives in the system; it induces schools to focus more on picking pupils than on improving their performance.’
I suggest it would be helpful, and appropriate , before any future government decides to increase selection in the schools system, for it to set out clearly the evidence base that informs this policy decision. At present, as far as I am aware ,there is no think tank, no reputable academic or research organisation or institution , nor any organisation promoting social mobility which either backs the policy of increased selection or has provided evidence that such a policy will do any of the following: improve performance across the system, raise the performance overall of disadvantaged pupils, narrow the performance gap between disadvantaged and mainstream pupils ,increase social mobility, improve equity, or significantly help ‘ordinary families’ educationally, all of which appear to be priorities on the current education agenda. If evidence informed policy and practice has any meaning, then this should be a minimum requirement, before any government wastes scarce resources, political energy and capital on introducing and driving through any such policy in the face of available evidence and expert opinion