https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/05/23/education-in-the-media-thursday-23-may-2018/

Education in the media: Wednesday 23 May 2018

Today's Education in the media blog looks at Oxford University admissions data and the funding that we have given to grammar schools.

Oxford Universiy admissions

Today, Wednesday 23 May, Oxford University published data on entries to the university by disadvantage, ethnicity and gender. This publication is part of their drive for transparency to show the diversity that already exists in the University.

The report shows that between 2013 and 2017 the proportion of students identifying as Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) rose from 13.9% to 17.9% and the number of admissions from state schools during the same period rose by 1%.

This has been reported the Today Programme, BBC Breakfast, Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, with mixed coverage both welcoming the transparency from the university while also stating that progress has been too slow in some areas.

We want to see more universities publishing data such as this and being more open about their admissions.

We want everyone to receive a world-class education whatever their background and we have asked the Office for Students to work with the higher education sector to improve access and retention of disadvantaged students.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:

“This Government has introduced new measures that will require all higher education institutions to publish data on disadvantaged groups in the future including on admissions, but I welcome Oxford University’s action in pre-empting this and being transparent and open. Data like this shines a light on those who need to do more to increase access for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

“Next year universities will spend around £860 million on measures to improve this type of access and retention of disadvantaged students, so I want to see progress and action that goes beyond just data, particularly at our most selective institutions. To support this I have asked the Office for Students to work with the sector to ensure that expenditure in this area is backed by evidence, ensuring greater value for money on their spending.”

Grammar schools

Today, Wednesday 23 May, the University College London Institute of Education released a report about grammar schools, which suggests that students that attend a grammar school are unlikely to achieve more academically by the age of 14 than those who attend the selective state schools.

This has been reported by the Guardian, Telegraph and Mirror.

We know that disadvantaged pupils attending grammar schools do make better progress – on average around half a grade better in each of eight GCSEs – across core subjects than pupils with similar prior attainment in other schools, and when disadvantaged children attend selective schools, the attainment gap is significantly reduced.

The Education Secretary Damian Hinds recently responded to the Schools that Work for Everyone consultation, which included an announcement about funding that we are providing to grammar schools to enable them to expand.

This expansion will enable more pupils to access an excellent education. Grammar schools must demonstrate a need for places, and detail how they will increase access for disadvantaged pupils and work in partnership with other schools to get the funding.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

"We know selective schools provide an excellent education – in fact research shows that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve better results in selective schools, and 98% of them are rated Good or Outstanding. We also know these schools are oversubscribed, with parents wanting their children to be able to access this form of education.

“We want more children from all backgrounds to have access to a world-class education, which is why all selective schools applying for funding to expand must not only be Good or Outstanding, but must also make clear how they will increase their intake of disadvantaged pupils and work with local non-selective schools to improve outcomes for pupils of all backgrounds.”

You can read our full response to the consultation online.