Academic evidence on selective secondary education

Publication type

Parliamentary Paper


Charlotte Kitchen and Abbi Hobbs

Publication date

Series Number



In September 2016, the Prime Minister announced that the Government intends to remove the ban on opening entirely new state-funded grammar schools in England, and to allow non-selective schools to convert under certain circumstances. From September to December 2016, the Department for Education (DfE) ran a consultation on the proposals, which also includes plans to allow new free schools to select up to 100% of pupils based on their faith. This POSTbrief provides a brief overview of methodologically robust studies on state-funded selective schools that select the majority of their intake on academic criteria.


Education, Public Policy and Government



References: Burgess, S., Dickson, M., and Macmillan, L. (2014) Selective schooling systems increase inequality, Institute of Education Department of Quantitative Social Science Working Papers, No. 14-09. London: Institute of Education. Department of Quantitative Social Science.; Peer reviewers acknowledged include Louise Clarke Cullen and Professor Emilia Del Bono (ISER); References: Clark, D. and Del Bono, E. (2016) 'The long-run effects of attending an elite school: evidence from the United Kingdom', American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 8(1): 150-176.