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School Segregation and its Consequences


The average ability of children going into the best comprehensive schools in England is way above the average ability in the worst, according to a study of the extent to which high- and low-achieving pupils are separated into different secondary schools. Stephen Gibbons and Shqiponja Telhaj find that such 'educational segregation' is even greater when their analysis includes schools that can 'cream skim' pupils by ability or religion.

These patterns of segregation could have real consequences in terms of educational inequality. But the research also shows that segregation has not been increasing over time. What's more, any contribution that a peer group makes to a child's academic progress seems to be small, although there might be other, non-academic effects.


Stephen Gibbons and Shqiponja Telhaj

February 2008     Paper Number CEPCP239

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