South West London and social mobility: a few non-selective rays of hope?


The Departments for Education and for Business, Innovation and Skills released ‘experimental’ data in July on destinations of students in England going from state-funded school/college to university, about which I blogged previously.

behr outcomes has done some further analysis of the state-funded schools and colleges in the South West London area including the following Local Authorities (LAs): Hounslow, Richmond, Kingston, Merton, Wandsworth and Fulham & Hammersmith. The main success criteria used is the percentage of students who leave these institutions and go on to Russell Group universities (these are 24 research-intensive UK universities, many of which are world-renowned). As a health warning there are issues with the data  that many schools/colleges are not completely happy about, which is why it is being consulted on currently. behr outcomes will also respond.

What comes out of this is as follows, much of which is not surprising:

  • If you rank state-funded institutions by the success criteria mentioned above then the ones that do best tend to be selective and teach ages 11-19 (as opposed to 11-16 and/or 16-19)
  • Selection is made not just on prior academic performance, but by stated/confirmed religious background (in this area Roman Catholic or Church of England) and gender (i.e. single sex girls or boys schools)
  • Independent schools are excluded from this data, but we already know that they generally do best (see latest Sutton Trust 30 data).

What is more surprising is the fact that a few state-funded schools in the South West London area don’t apply any  of these selection factors but seem to be doing relatively well using the destinations criteria as a success measure. None of this of course takes account of diverse local cultural effects such as relative wealth, education and levels of aspiration in the catchment areas of specific schools and colleges. And in South West London there is a huge issue about access to affordable accommodation in postcodes which favour entry to the ‘best’ institutions.

Conclusion? There is hope for greater social mobility if the best non-selective models can hold their own as part of a supportive local community reflecting the different rungs of society. This could be one possible outcome of the new Teaching Schools Alliances, but only if they are used as a mechanism for broader strategic partnerships across education to improve post16 outcomes and choice for all.

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2 thoughts on “South West London and social mobility: a few non-selective rays of hope?

  1. Pingback: Growth means less regulation and more spirit of enterprise, in education that is « behrfacts

  2. Pingback: Good education for all will make outcomes data truly transparent | behrfacts

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