Is anyone surprised? This site has been exposing dodgy data used by education secretaries and ministers since the Local Schools Network was set up in late 2010. And the UK Statistics Watchdog hasn’t been silent. It has slated Department for Education statistics on several occasions in the last five years (see here, here and here for a few).
Professor Alice Sullivan, professor of sociology at University College London, has accused the Conservatives of using ‘statistical jiggery-pokery’ to justify a manifesto claim about the proportion of poorer children at grammar schools. The Tories claimed ‘slightly more children from ordinary, working class families attend selective schools as a percentage of the school intake as compared to non-selective schools.’
But the figures used didn’t include children eligible for pupil premium, Professor Sullivan found.
This ‘sleight of hand’ made it appear that grammars take slightly more children from modest income* families (36%) than non-selective schools (35%). But if the poorest children are included, the proportion of lower income children in grammars rises to just 45% while the proportion in non-selective schools soars to 67%.
The Tories still stand by their misleading manifesto statement.
Warwick Mansell discusses 'questionable calculations on education' here. 'The electorate deserves better', he writes.
*Families on ‘modest income’ are defined in a DfE consultation paper as those ‘below median household equivalised income but who are not eligible for pupil premium’. The consultation began on 12 April 2017 just six days before the election was called. This raises the question about the competence of a government which launches a consultation less than a week before announcing a snap election.