Selective comprehensives 2017: admissions to high-attaining non-selective schools for disadvantaged pupils
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Carl Cullinane, Jude Hillary, Joana Andrade and Stephen McNamara

This research from the Sutton Trust finds that the top comprehensive schools in England for GCSE grades are significantly more socially selective than average state schools. The 500 non-selective state schools (where pupils are most likely to get five good GCSEs) take a smaller proportion of disadvantaged pupils than the average state school.

While some this gap can be explained by schools serving catchment areas with lower numbers of disadvantaged pupils, the report suggests a significant reason is due to social selection. Over 85% of schools in the top 500 take fewer disadvantaged pupils than live in their catchment area.

However, the research suggests that there are some signs that the situation is improving. The average proportion of disadvantaged pupils in the best schools has risen to 9.4%, up from 7.6% in 2013. The proportion of top schools with less than 6% disadvantaged pupils has dropped from 57% in 2013 to 39% in 2016.

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Carl Cullinane, Jude Hillary, Joana Andrade and Stephen McNamara

Published by:
Sutton Trust

Date of publication:
March 2017

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This report from the Sutton Trust explores how social selection operates in top performing comprehensive schools that with have proportions of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds than the national average. It may be of interest to policy makers and teachers in selective comprehensives. 

Analysis of data from Department for Education figures in combination with the National Pupil Database.


Record ID:
R357 / 462
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