In today's Daily Mail:
Leading comprehensive schools are far more socially divisive than grammar schools, a ground-breaking study has found.
They have a much smaller proportion of pupils from deprived homes and ethnic minorities.
Despite repeated attempts to tighten up admissions to comprehensives, schools still have 'wriggle room' to engage in social selection, the report found.
Parents can use their wealth to buy homes close to the most desirable schools or 'take pains' to prove they are active members of a faith, giving them priority admission to church schools.
The study authors say that controversial admissions lotteries are needed to stamp out 'game playing' by middle-class families and give poorer children a fair chance to attend a good comprehensive.
These so-called 'ballots' involve picking names out of a hat when allocating school places and are certain to provoke furious opposition if tried on a large scale.
The study, by Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson of Buckingham University, lends weight to claims that the comprehensive system has replaced selection by ability with selection by mortgage.
It says: 'Since it is now over 50 years since the country began to move towards a comprehensive system intended to bring equivalent opportunities to all children, it might be thought that the social differences between schools had largely disappeared or at least mainly reflected where they were. But this is far from the case.'
The study, commissioned by the Sutton Trust education charity, analysed the social background of children across all state secondary schools who took GCSEs in 2008.
At England's 164 most socially exclusive comprehensives, just 9.2 per cent of pupils came from families on benefits.
In contrast, the 164 remaining grammar schools, which selected purely on ability, allowed in 13.5 per cent of youngsters from poorer families.
Both types of school drew pupils from localities where, on average, about a fifth of children came from deprived homes.
The most exclusive comprehensive in the country had just one in 25 pupils - 4.2 per cent - coming from low-income homes.
The most socially deprived school had 68.6 per cent, prompting warnings that England's comprehensives are 'highly socially segregated'.
Of the 100 most 'socially selective' schools in the country, 91 were comprehensives, eight were grammars and one secondary modern, the report found.
At 18 grammars, fewer than half of pupils were white British, compared with just one socially selective comprehensive.
The study also uncovered tentative evidence that bright pupils were more likely to do well at school if they attended grammars rather than mixed-ability comprehensives.
The gap widened between the performance of pupils at grammars and those at comprehensives during their time at secondary school, the report found.
Full Story here:
They should have asked us, we could have told them quicker and cheaper!