Children make the most academic progress in comprehensives with a grammar-school culture, a study reveals today.
Referred to as ‘gromps’, schools which have strict discipline, smart uniforms, longer school days, competitive sports, classics and all three sciences, are more likely to have pupils do well, it found.
By contrast, pupils fall behind in schools with a ‘progressive’ ethos, which is defined as those with a casual uniform or no uniform at all.
Children make the most academic progress in comprehensives with a grammar-school culture, it has been revealed (stock picture)
Other markers include a relaxed attitude to low-level disruption in the classroom and lessons that are led by students rather than teachers, it was claimed.
The New Schools Network (NSN) used official data measuring the academic progress children make between sitting national tests aged 11 and taking eight GCSEs at the age of 16.
It comes as GCSE students are set to receive their results this week. They are the first ones to have been subjected to dramatic curriculum reforms designed to reduce the number of pupils receiving top grades.
Pupils in England taking their exams this year are the first to be awarded numerical grades – from 9, the highest, down to 1 – instead of traditional A*-G grades.
The NSN identified 25 schools at the top and bottom of the resulting academic progress tables. It then analysed factors common to the cultures of both groups.
Other markers include a relaxed attitude to low-level disruption in the classroom and lessons that are led by students rather than teachers (stock picture)
Toby Young, director of the NSN, told the Sunday Times: ‘We have called the most successful schools we have identified in England ‘gromps’ because, with a truly comprehensive intake, they also have the ethos of our best grammar schools.’
According to the report, top-performing gromps include Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney, east London, which once sent 10 children to Cambridge in a single year.
This was even though about 40 per cent of its pupils were on free school meals. Pupils stand up when teachers enter a room, have regulation haircuts and leave mobile phones at home.
Also in the top 25 is central London’s King Solomon Academy. Its school day runs from 7.55am to 4pm followed by two hours of homework or detention time.
It is understood that ‘gromp’ free schools could be built in poorer parts of England in an effort to drive up social mobility and could replace the idea of new grammar schools proposed by Theresa May.
The study also found that by the age of 16 poor children in England were more than 19 months behind wealthier ones in terms of academic achievement.
Among the revelations, it also emerged pupils who grow up in poor households are six times less likely to go to Oxbridge.