Grammar lessons

Last year the government set out proposals to expand the number of grammar schools across England representing a significant shift in the education system. Such a change means costs and benefits, and there would be winners and losers writes Luke Sibieta, Programme Director of the Education and Skills sector at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

luke-sibieta-150

It does appear that those who attend grammar schools do, on average, somewhat better than similar children in the comprehensive system.

Grammar schools may thus be a way of improving the performance of very bright pupils. On the other hand, those in selective areas who don’t get into grammar schools do worse than they would in a comprehensive system. And as children from poorer families are significantly less likely to attend grammar schools, the expansion of grammar schools in the current form would seem more likely to reduce than increase social mobility. Continue reading

Getting off the rollercoaster

Gemma Tetlow is programme director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) work on pensions, saving and public finances. Her research interests include pensions, savings, asset holding and health and their interactions with later life working. Her work also includes analysis of the UK’s public finances and public spending.

Gemma Tetlow

The recent Budget was the first of the new Parliament and the first by a Conservative government for nearly two decades. Following the pattern of all other general elections since 1987, the government announced a package of tax measures raising in excess of £5 billion a year. But there were also significant changes to public spending – with new cuts to social security spending but a reduction in the planned cuts to spending on public services. Overall the effect of the measures announced last week was to slow the pace of fiscal consolidation over the next three years but to increase the size of the eventual medium-term tightening. Continue reading